The ASPECT Hydrocephalus System: a non-hierarchical descriptive system for clinical use

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In patients with hydrocephalus, prognosis and intervention are based on multiple factors. This includes, but is not limited to, time of onset, patient age, treatment history, and obstruction of cerebrospinal fluid flow. Consequently, several distinct hydrocephalus classification systems exist. The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) is universally applied, but in ICD-10 and the upcoming ICD-11, hydrocephalus diagnoses incorporate only a few factors, and the hydrocephalus diagnoses of the ICD systems are based on different clinical measures. As a consequence, multiple diagnoses can be applied to individual cases. Therefore, similar patients may be described with different diagnoses, while clinically different patients may be diagnosed identically. This causes unnecessary dispersion in hydrocephalus diagnostics, rendering the ICD classification of little use for research and clinical decision-making. This paper critically reviews the ICD systems for scientific and functional limitations in the classification of hydrocephalus and presents a new descriptive system. We propose describing hydrocephalus by a system consisting of six clinical key factors of hydrocephalus: A (anatomy); S (symptomatology); P (previous interventions); E (etiology); C (complications); T (time–onset and current age). The “ASPECT Hydrocephalus System” is a systematic, nuanced, and applicable description of patients with hydrocephalus, with a potential to resolve the major issues of previous classifications, thus providing new opportunities for standardized treatment and research.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Neurochirurgica
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)355-365
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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    Research areas

  • ASPECT Hydrocephalus System, Hydrocephalus

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