Comparing motor development in children with hydrocephalus after treatment with ventriculoperitoneal shunt and endoscopic third ventriculostomy: a cross-sectional study

Martha Manda1, Eveness Nambuzi1, Frank Kaphesi1, Clement Likalowa1, Tuntufye Mwambyale2, James Kaunda1, Patrick Kamalo3

  1. Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, School of Life Science and Allied Health Professions, Kamuzu University of Health Sciences, Blantyre, Malawi
  2. Department of Biomedical Sciences, School of Life Science and Allied Health Professions, Kamuzu University of Health Sciences, Blantyre, Malawi
  3. Blantyre Institute of Neurological Surgery, Department of Neurosurgery, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Blantyre, Malawi
    *Corresponding Author: Martha Manda;


Ventriculoperitoneal shunt insertion (VPSI) and endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) are the major procedures for treating pediatric hydrocephalus. However, studies comparing motor development following the two treatments are limited.
We aimed to determine motor development outcomes in children with hydrocephalus up to 2 years of age after undergoing VPSI or ETV, to identify which surgical approach yields better motor outcomes and may be more effective for Malawian children.
This was a cross-sectional study where we recruited two groups of participants: one group consisted of children with hydrocephalus treated with VP shunt whilst the other group were treated with ETV, at least 6 months prior to this study. Participants were identified from the hospital records and were called to come for neurodevelopmental assessment using the Malawi Development Assessment Tool (MDAT).
A total 152 children treated for hydrocephalus within an 18-month period met the inclusion criteria. Upon follow up and tracing, we recruited 25 children who had been treated: 12 had VPSI and 13 had ETV. MDAT revealed delays in both assessed motor domains: 19 out of the 25 children had delayed gross motor whilst 16 of 25 had delayed fine motor development. There was no significant difference between the shunted and the ETV groups.
Children with hydrocephalus demonstrate delays in motor development six to 18 months after treatment with either VPSI or ETV. This may necessitate early and prolonged intensive rehabilitation to restore motor function after surgery. Long-term follow-up studies with bigger sample sizes are required to detect the effect of the two treatment approaches.

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