Doctor insights on:
Hydrocephalus Shunt Malfunction Symptoms
I have a vp shunt for Hydrocephalus and if I have shunt malfunction and if I don't get treated right away what would happen to me?
HEADACHE: Will be the first thing you notice with a shunt malfunction. Then you will lose coordination, vomit, have visual problems, lose consciousness and if you continue to be untreated you will build up enough pressure for your brainstem to be pushed through the base of the skull and your breathing will stop. ...Read more
I seem to be having headaches and lower back pain everytime I bend down... I wanted to know if there may be shunt malfunction due to hydrocephalus
Check with neuro:
If you're having new onset headaches when bending at the waist and back pain which wasn't there before then, you could have several things...but with the presence of a shunt I wouldn't waste any time. Either get to your neurologist or neurosurgeon to get things looked at quickly. Don't hang out waiting for more to develop.
If you'd like to talk 1-1 with me: www.healthtap.com/drsaghafi ...Read more
Relieves csf: A shunt diverts CSF that is accumulating in the spaces of the brain called ventricles to the abdominal space. Normally the CSF which is produced in the ventricles exists through small pores in the ventricles to circulate the brain and down the spinal cord. If those pores are blocked or the CSF can not drain to the spinal cord, then it accumulates in the ventricles and decrease brain tissue. ...Read more
Possible: It is possible for the hydrocephaly to slowly resolve and not re-occur. It certainly depends on what caused the hydrocephaly in the first place. It is more common to slowly resolve if it was caused by a blled in the brain when the baby was premature. Less likely if the cuase is a physical restriction of the flow of CSF as in dandy-walker cyst or arnold chiari defect. ...Read more
Common procedure: While untoward outcomes may occur with any surgery, shunt placement is one of the most commonly performed neurosurgical procedures. The surgery entails passing a tube or catheter into the brain. Another catheter is passed under the scalp and skin and into the abdomen. Joining the two catheters is a pressure regulatory valve. This serves to divert fluid into the abdomen where it can be absorbed. ...Read more
Possibly.: Hydrocephalus is caused by a blockage in cerebrospinal fluid flow. Depending on exactly where the blockage is, it might be amenable to an endoscopic 3rd ventriculostomy, where a small hole is punctured in the floor of the third ventricle to relieve the blockage. No external shunt is needed in these cases. If the blockage is in the wrong area however, this will not work. ...Read more
CT & Neuro tests: Generally, hydrocephalus poses specific neurologic signs & symptoms (Sx), which lead 2 testing. Dilated ventricles (fluid sacs in brain) can b seen on CT scan. U may have "frozen ventricle" meaning an abnormal CT scan w/o Sx; or shunt malfunction w/ Sx. If u r having symptoms like when u were 1st diagnosed, TTY neurologist, who can perform specific neurologic tests (tandem walk, etc.) 4 diagnosis. ...Read more
Not often: Shunt placement procedure is usually safe. Malplacement, small amount of bleeding could rarely occur. It's important to note that 50% of shunts will fail in the first 2 years and will need to be revised. ...Read more
What's are the difference between the three available programmable shunts commonly used to treat hydrocephalus?
Several differences exist. One the number of pressure settings, available to program, another is the ability to tolerate exposure to mri. Finally, the ability to 'virtually shut the device off' by using a high pressure setting is another feature present that may or may not be present in a given device.
Disclosure: I work for one of the companies that make these devices. ...Read more
Fairly routine: For an experienced and seasoned neurosurgeon, placement of a shunt to reduce pressure secondary to hydrocephalus is usually a safe and routine procedure, unlikely to be associated with complications. However, due to your fears, have a complete pre-operative meeting with the surgical team, and get all your questions and concerns addressed. ...Read more
No: This is a relatively straight forward operation. ...Read more
Only if necessary: Hydrocephalus is a complex of high brain pressure and extra amount of brain water. Many patients have brain imaging that shows extra brain water but have no pressure. If there are no signs of obstruction along pathways through the brain, it is considered "external" hydrocephalus. If there is no pressure, there is no need for shunt. If there is definite pressure, a shunt is the best treatment. ...Read more
Your surgeon must have a preference for you laying down. Every neurosurgeon's practice is different and yours definitely has his reasons. I would not second guess his protocol.
In our facility, our shunt patients are usually up and walking the evening of surgery and home the next day- but trust your surgeon. ...Read more
A tube is placed: The shunt for hydrocephalus simply takes fluid from an area of the brain where too much has accumulated and allows it to drain easily into another part of the body, usually the tissues inside the abdomen. To place it, the surgeon puts and anchors one end of a valved tube in the fluid area of the brain and the other in the abdomen. ...Read more
In a baby with hydrocephalus and after shunting will the child need a new shunt next year or two?
Possibly: If the shunt stops working (shunt failure), it will need to be revised. This often entails placing a completely new shunt system or a partial new system. It is impossible to predict exactly when this will happen, but the general risk of shunt failure is 10% per year. The shunt may also need to be lengthened as the child grows. All the above possibilities entail a surgical procedure. ...Read more
My husband has hydrocephalus with shunt. Placed 21 years ago. He is having headaches, some pretty severe. Should we be concerned?
Is it possible for the enlargement of the head be reversed, either surgically or not, after the hydrocephalus is treated with a shunt?
Depends: This depends on whether the sutures of the head are fused. If you are 46yo with hydrocephalus and receive a shunt, it is not likely that the head size will reverse. The sutures of the head are usually fused by the age of 2 years and it is not possible to "shrink" the skull. I am not aware of any safe surgery done to correct this. ...Read more
I know that 1 in 500 children are born w/hydrocephalus, but what's the statistics for acquired hydro? Percentage of people with vp shunts?
Unknown: Hydrocephalus has many causes. Most are in the chilhood age groups and are congenital. The age peak for adults is in the 70s and 80s. Tumors, trauma, and brain hemorrhage also cause hydro in adults and there are no known registries that can give you a number. You could search codman and johnson and johnson websites for hydro valve manufacturers. They may have numbers of valves sold. ...Read more
My child has hydrocephalus n we have no idea to put a shunt. . Hw long will she survive?? She is nw 2 mnths old and she has haemerages also
Depends on cause: Hydrocephalus is just a word to describe too much fluid pressure in the brain. Some babies are born with the condition but become stable and never need a shunt. Some develop the condition due to brain tumor and the shunt just allows for less distress as the tumor is being treated. Some have the condition due to complex congenital abnormalities. In acute pressure, the shunt is life saving. ...Read more
Depends on Diagnosis: There are several types of hydrocephalus in adults. Shunting is typically most successful in patients with acquired hydrocephalus (e.g., hydrocephalus from a brain tumor, bleed, etc) and much less successful in patients with normal pressure hydrocephalus. You will need to further discuss this subject with your neurosurgeon ...Read more
I have a vp shunt for hydrocephalus and I sometimes zone out duing the day. What does this mean? Is this normal?
ZONE OUT means what?: Please specify if the person asking this question is the patient and are you 16 years of age? If so, we will need a parent or guardian to ask on your behalf or giving permission to use this service since it is typically for those 18 or older unless your state recognizes 16 as the age of parental emancipation. But I can tell you that NO, not normal to zone out. You need to be examined ...Read more
Is shunt for hydrocephalus visible outside? Can it be removed later if CSF flow has been restored perfectly? What are the dangers of having a shunt?
Depends: It really depends on the reason for why the shunt was placed. For the most part, it is placed because there is no reversibility to restore CSF flow. Initial complications of placing a shunt include infection, long-term complications include obstruction or shunt failure. The shunt in tunneled under the skin and can be visible as a tube over the skull or neck. ...Read more