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Hydrocephalus Shunt Query

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Old 05-09-2010, 11:36 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 2
Antoni12 HB User
Hydrocephalus Shunt Query


I am a 38 year old female, and have had a VP shunt pretty much since I was born. I have had countless revisions.

Over 10 years ago I had a shunt renewal as it was totally split, but since I have still been having headaches.

My GP has since organised ultrasounds and further scans, and it has been found that on renewal of my new shunt, they left the old one in (it is just hanging there) and has become calcified as well as possibly infected (it's quite painful to the touch and red on the surface).

To cut a long question short, is it normal to leave an inactive shunt hanging? and just insert a new one?

Any advice would be much appreciated.


Last edited by Antoni12; 05-11-2010 at 09:51 AM.

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Old 05-17-2010, 11:29 AM   #2
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 1
hydrocephalus HB User
Re: Hydrocephalus Shunt Query

Generally if the neurologists opinion is that less chance of damage occurring by leaving the shunt in place, then there is no reason to risk the complications of surgery.

When my shunt was inserted (34 years ago) they used brush-like end to the catheter in the ventricles, this helped to keep the catheter in place, but now prevents the shunt system from being removed.

If there are complications with the old shunt, then the shunt will have to be removed.

Old 05-18-2010, 06:27 PM   #3
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 2
Antoni12 HB User
Re: Hydrocephalus Shunt Query

Hi, thank you for your reply. I suppose my main problem is that part of it was left when it was replaced. Over the years I have been having problems in the shunt area, and the specialists did not notice the calcification, saying that my problem is due to stress (that appears to be their only advice when they don't know what is wrong). If they had bothered checking the whole area, they may have found the problem earlier as calcification does not happen over night, preventing the infection. I also have a pituitary tumour which they failed to advise me about until years later (possible other reasons for my headaches and other problems). They kept telling me, we don't know why you're having headaches, but they never bothered checking everything. When asked why they didn't tell me about this earlier, they said they didn't see it, but it was on my scans!
I am happy now that I will be seeing specialists who actually look at what is occuring in my brain, not just saying that I am worried.

Thanks for your reply, it is much appreciated.

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