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      Effects of prednisone on ventriculoperitoneal shunt function in hydrocephalus secondary to cysticercosis: a preliminary study.

      Journal of neurosurgery
      Journal of Neurosurgery Publishing Group (JNSPG)

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          In a prospective open study, 15 patients with hydrocephalus secondary to cysticercosis who required insertion of a ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt were treated with 50 mg of prednisone given orally three times a week. Treatment began in the 1st postoperative week, with isoniazid and pyridoxine administered daily as antituberculous chemoprophylaxis. The drug regimen was continued with close follow up for 24 months. Clinical status, Karnofsky performance status (KPS) scores, and postoperative course in the prednisone-treated group were compared with 30 control patients with hydrocephalus due to cysticercosis. The control patients were matched by age and sex, underwent surgical shunting in the same period, and were followed routinely by the neurosurgery staff. Lumbar cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) was studied in 2, 16, and 32 weeks postoperatively in the prednisone group. At 24-month follow up two (13%) of 15 patients in the prednisone group and 19 (60%) of 30 patients in the control group required surgical shunt revisions for symptomatic shunt obstruction (p=0.002). Follow-up studies of CSF performed at 32 weeks in the prednisone group revealed improvement of abnormal values with statistically significant differences for glucose (p<0.02). Serial imaging studies in the prednisone group revealed persistence of cysticercal cysts with no change in size. Mean initial KPS scores were similar in both groups. At the end of the follow-up period, the mean KPS score was significantly higher in the prednisone group (p=0.003). Prednisone and chemoprophylactic drugs were well tolerated. These results suggest that in selected patients with hydrocephalus secondary to cysticercosis, intermittent long-term prednisone therapy after VP shunting may reduce shunt malfunction and improve the functional status of the patients.

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