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:
- ventriculoatrial shunts (CSF shunted into the vascular system)
- lumboperitoneal shunts (CSF shunted from the spine)
- cystoperitoneal shunts (cyst contents shunted to peritoneal space)
- programmable shunts with variable pressing settings
A shunt series is performed when there is concern about the normal functioning of a VP shunt.
Recognised complications include 1,2:
- shunt malfunction
- disconnections/breaks (most common in the neck)
- shunt over drainage and slit-ventricle syndrome
- intracranial peri-shunt fluid collection with oedema 3
- trapped ventricle - after lateral ventricular shunting
- distal complications
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