BioScience Trends. 2014;8(6):327-332. (DOI: 10.5582/bst.2014.01070)
The use of ventriculoperitoneal shunts for uncontrollable intracranial hypertension in patients with HIV-associated cryptococcal meningitis with or without hydrocephalus.
Liu L, Zhang RF, Tang Y, Lu HZ
Extremely elevated intracranial pressure (ICP) in patients with HIV and cryptococcal meningitis is a poor prognostic predictor of death during initial therapy. The risks associated with implanting a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) shunt into immunocompromised patients with ongoing CSF infection have historically discouraged surgeons from implanting CSF shunts in patients with HIV and cryptococcal meningitis. An unanswered question is whether ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunts can effectively provide long-term treatment for patients with intracranial hypertension and HIV-associated cryptococcal meningitis in China. Outcomes for 9 patients with HIV-associated cryptococcal meningitis who were given VP shunts for increased ICP were retrospectively analyzed. Each patient's age, sex, clinical manifestations, CD4+ lymphocyte count, HIV viral load, neurological status, CSF features, image findings, anad other opportunistic infections were recorded for analysis. All patients had signs and symptoms of increased ICP, including headaches, nausea, and vomiting. Seven patients (77.78%) had visual loss due to persistent papilledema. The median time from diagnosis of cryptococcal meningitis to VP shunting in the 9 patients was 5 months (range 0.5-12.5 months). Seven patients (77.78%) had good outcomes, with recovery from 1 month to 48 months. Two patients had poor outcomes; one died six months after shunting due to severe adverse reactions to antiretroviral drugs, and the other died two weeks after surgery. Patients with intracranial hypertension and HIV-associated cryptococcal meningitis who cannot tolerate cessation of external lumbar CSF drainage or frequent lumbar punctures may be eligible for VP shunt placement, despite severe immunosuppression and persistent CSF cryptococcal infection.