OBJECTIVE Hydrocephalus remains one of the more common pathologies managed in pediatric neurosurgical units. Endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) has an advantage over ventriculoperitoneal shunting as it enables patients to remain device free. Multiple shunt devices with various valve designs exist, with no one valve proven to be superior to another. The aim of this study was to describe the management of hydrocephalus and its long-term outcome. METHODS The authors retrospectively reviewed the medical records of all patients who had been treated for hydrocephalus at the Hôpital Necker-Enfants Malades in the period from 1985 to 1995. RESULTS Nine hundred seventy-five children had been treated for hydrocephalus. The mean follow-up was 11 ± 7.4 years (mean ± standard deviation). The most common cause of hydrocephalus was tumor related (32.3%), followed by malformative (24.5%) and inflammatory (20.9%) causes. Two hundred eighty patients underwent ETV as the first-line treatment. The procedure was effective in controlling hydrocephalus due to posterior fossa tumors and aqueductal stenosis. Six hundred ninety-five children had initial shunt insertion, with the majority receiving an Orbis-Sigma valve (OSV). The overall OSV shunt survival was 70% at 1 year, 58% at 10 years, and 49% at 20 years. The most common cause for mechanical shunt failure was obstruction (50.7%). Overall shunt survival was statistically different between the OSV and the differential-pressure valve (p = 0.009). CONCLUSIONS Endoscopic third ventriculostomy is effective in the management of childhood hydrocephalus. Its success is directly related to the underlying pathology. In the long term, the OSV has significantly higher event-free shunt survival than the classic differential-pressure valve systems.