BACKGROUND: Hydrocephalus is a common, life threatening complication of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-related central nervous system opportunistic infection which can be treated by insertion of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt (VPS). In HIV-infected patients there is concern that VPS might be associated with unacceptably high mortality. To identify prognostic indicators, we aimed to compare survival and clinical outcome following VPS placement between all studied causes of hydrocephalus in HIV infected patients.
METHODS: The following electronic databases were searched: The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, MEDLINE (PubMed), EMBASE, CINAHL Plus, LILACS, Research Registry, the metaRegister of Controlled Trials, ClinicalTrials.gov, African Journals Online, and the OpenGrey database. We included observational studies of HIV-infected patients treated with VPS which reported of survival or clinical outcome. Data was extracted using standardised proformas. Risk of bias was assessed using validated domain-based tools.
RESULTS: Seven Hunderd twenty-three unique study records were screened. Nine observational studies were included. Three included a total of 75 patients with tuberculous meningitis (TBM) and six included a total of 49 patients with cryptococcal meningitis (CM). All of the CM and two of the TBM studies were of weak quality. One of the TBM studies was of moderate quality. One-month mortality ranged from 62.5-100% for CM and 33.3-61.9% for TBM. These pooled data were of low to very-low quality and was inadequate to support meta-analysis between aetiologies. Pooling of results from two studies with a total of 77 participants indicated that HIV-infected patients with TBM had higher risk of one-month mortality compared with HIV non-infected controls (odds ratio 3.03; 95% confidence-interval 1.13-8.12; p = 0.03).
CONCLUSIONS: The evidence base is currently inadequate to inform prognostication in VPS insertion in HIV-infected patients. A population-based prospective cohort study is required to address this, in the first instance.