Ventriculoperitoneal shunt

Ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunts are a device used to shunt cerebrospinal fluid in the treatment of hydrocephalus.

As the name suggests, a catheter is placed with its tip in the ventricle. The external portion of the catheter is connected to a valve that regulates the flow of CSF based on a preset pressure. The distal catheter is tunnelled under the skin and into the peritoneal cavity. 

Several other similar devices can be involved in the shunting of fluid from one cavity under pressure to another cavity of lower pressure:


Recognised complications include 1,2:

  • shunt malfunction
    • disconnections/breaks (most common in the neck)
    • migration
    • leakage
  • shunt obstruction/kinking
    • rarely, distal end can encircle bowel and cause strangulation 4
  • cerebrospinal pseudocysts
  • sutural diastasis
  • ventriculitis
  • meningitis
  • shunt over drainage and slit-ventricle syndrome
  • intracranial perishunt fluid collection with oedema 3
  • neoplastic metastases
  • pleural effusion

See also

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Article information

rID: 22789
Section: Gamuts
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • VP shunt
  • Ventriculoperitoneal shunts
  • Ventriculo-peritoneal shunt
  • VP shunts

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Cases and figures

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    Case 1: VP shunt - 3D surface rendered
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    Case 2: with shunt malfunction
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    Case 3: with hepatic CSF pseudocyst
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    Case 4: discontinous shunt tubing
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    Case 5: programmable shunt
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    Case 6: tube fracture
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