Thirty-Day Hospital Readmission and Surgical Complication Rates for Shunting in Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus: A Large National Database Analysis


Background: Research on age-related complications secondary to shunts in normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) is primarily limited to single-center studies and small cohorts.

Objective: To determine the rates of hospital readmission and surgical complications, and factors that predict them, following shunt surgery for NPH in a large healthcare network.

Methods: Surgical procedures, complications, and readmissions for adults undergoing ventricular shunting for NPH were determined using de-identified claims from a privately insured United States healthcare network in years 2007-2014. Univariate and multivariate statistics were used to determine factors that predict poor surgical outcomes. The primary outcome variable was surgical complications or readmissions (composite variable for any major perioperative complication or 30-d readmission).

Results: The 30-d readmission rate for 974 patients with NPH who underwent ventricular shunting was 7.29%; the most common reasons for readmission were shunt-related complications, infection, hemorrhage, altered mental status, and cardiopulmonary and musculoskeletal problems. The perioperative complication rate was 21.15%, including intraparenchymal hemorrhage (5.85%) and extra-axial (subdural or epidural) hematoma (5.54%). The overall rate of having a surgical complication or 30-d readmission was 25.15%. Age did not predict surgical complication or 30-d readmission. Preoperative comorbidities independently associated with poor outcome were myocardial infarction within 1 yr (OR = 3.984, 95% CI = 1.105-14.368); existing cerebrovascular disease (odds ratio [OR] = 2.206, 95% CI = 1.544-3.152); and moderate/severe renal disease (OR = 2.000, 95% CI = 1.155-3.464).

Conclusion: The rate of complications or readmission within 30 d of ventricular shunting for NPH is 25.15%. Preoperative comorbidities of myocardial infarction within 1 yr, cerebrovascular disease, and moderate/severe renal disease are independent risk factors for poor outcome.

Neurosurgery, 86(6), 843–850

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