Ventriculoperitoneal shunt

Last revised by Dr Ian Bickle on 01 Apr 2021

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:

A shunt series is performed when there is concern about the normal functioning of a VP shunt.

Recognized complications include 1,2:

  • infection
  • shunt malfunction
    • disconnections/breaks (most common in the neck)
    • migration
    • leakage
    • shunt over drainage and slit-ventricle syndrome
  • intracranial peri-shunt fluid collection with edema 3
  • trapped ventricle - after lateral ventricular shunting
  • distal complications

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: VP shunt - 3D surface rendered
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  • Case 2: normal shunt series
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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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  • Case 7: CSF overshunting associated with bilateral subdural hematoma
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  • Case 8: broken intracranial shunt
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  • Case 9: VP shunt disconnection
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  • Case 10: with shunt malfunction
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  • Case 12: per rectal ventriculoperitoneal shunt due migration and perforation
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