Acutely Trapped Ventricle: Clinical Significance and Benefit from Surgical Decompression

Gabriel L. Pagani-Estévez, Philippe Couillard, Giuseppe Lanzino, Eelco F.M. Wijdicks, Alejandro A. Rabinstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Focal ventricular obstruction—trapped ventricle—results in cerebrospinal fluid accumulation, mass effect and possible clinical deterioration. There are no systematic studies on the benefit of surgical decompression in adults. Methods: We reviewed patients admitted with acutely trapped ventricle on brain imaging to assess their prognosis and the effect of surgical intervention on 30-day mortality. Results: Of the 392 patients with trapped ventricle, the most common causes were brain tumor (45 %), intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) (20 %), and subdural hematoma (SDH) (14 %). Lateral ventricle trapping accounted for 97 % of cases. Two hundred and twenty-one patients (56 %) received a surgical intervention for trapped ventricle or its causes; 126 (83 %) were treated with craniotomy, 26 (17 %) with craniectomy, 30 (14 %) with external ventricular drain (EVD) alone, 23 (10 %) with ventriculoperitoneal shunt alone, and 16 (7 %) with endoscopic fenestration of the septum pellucidum. Surgical intervention was associated with mortality reduction from 95 % (n = 54) to 48 % (n = 11) in the ICH group, from 47 % (n = 27) to 12 % (n = 15) in the tumor group and from 90 % (n = 18) to 20 % (n = 7) in the SDH group (p < 0.001 for all comparisons). Univariate logistic analysis showed that surgical intervention and tumor etiology were associated with decreased mortality while age, ICH etiology, intraventricular hemorrhage, midline shift, and anticoagulation were associated with increased mortality. On multivariate logistic regression, surgical intervention remained associated with decreased mortality (p < 0.0001; OR 0.20, 95 % CI 0.09–0.42). On subgroup analysis of the ICH cohort, surgical intervention was also associated with decreased mortality (p = 0.028). Conclusions: Neurosurgical intervention for decompression in patients with trapped ventricle can have a measurable beneficial effect on early mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)110-117
Number of pages8
JournalNeurocritical care
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016


  • Hydrocephalus
  • Mortality
  • Outcome
  • Surgery
  • Trapping
  • Ventricular
  • Ventriculostomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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