- Department of Neurosurgery, Instituto Nacional de Neurologia y Neurocirugia, Mexico City, Mexico,
- Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
- Division of Neurosurgery, Centre Hospitalier Saint-Justine, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Michel G. Mondragon-Soto, Department of Neurosurgery, Instituto Nacional de Neurologia y Neurocirugia, Mexico City, Mexico.
DOI:10.25259/SNI_636_2021Copyright: © 2022 Surgical Neurology International This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-Share Alike 4.0 License, which allows others to remix, transform, and build upon the work non-commercially, as long as the author is credited and the new creations are licensed under the identical terms.
How to cite this article: Michel Gustavo Mondragon-Soto1, Lior Elkaim2, Alexander G. Weil3. Transient ventriculoperitoneal shunt malfunction in a pediatric patient: An illustrative case. 05-Jan-2022;13:6
How to cite this URL: Michel Gustavo Mondragon-Soto1, Lior Elkaim2, Alexander G. Weil3. Transient ventriculoperitoneal shunt malfunction in a pediatric patient: An illustrative case. 05-Jan-2022;13:6. Available from: https://surgicalneurologyint.com/surgicalint-articles/11325/
Background: Ventriculoperitoneal shunt (VPS), the mainstay of the treatment for hydrocephalus, is associated with relatively high revision rates. Transient hydrocephalus due to intermittent VPS obstruction should be recognized as a cause of VPS malfunction. While transient VPS dysfunction is well-recognized complication, there is a relative paucity of well-documented cases in the literature.
Case Description: We present the case of a 4-year-old boy with a history of vascular malformation and hydrocephalus secondary to intraventricular hemorrhage. The patient presented with transient, self-resolving hydrocephalus (without intervention), as documented by clinical and radiological findings.
Conclusion: Transient hydrocephalus due to intermittent VPS dysfunction in children is a rare entity, but it should be suspected in certain patients with VPS presenting with transient or self-improving symptoms.
Keywords: Choroid plexus, Hydrocephalus, Pediatric, Shunt malfunction
Hydrocephalus affects both pediatric and adult populations, with an estimated prevalence in the general populations of between 1.0% and 1.5%.[
There are, to the best of our knowledge, 15 available case reports describing transient hydrocephalus in pediatric patients. Of these, only four represent patients with ventriculoperitoneal shunt (VPS) dysfunctions; other suspected etiologies include subarachnoid hemorrhage and intraventricular clots,[
In this report, we provide radiographic evidence on computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of spontaneously resolving hydrocephalus secondary to suspected VPS dysfunction in a 4-year-old boy.
A 4-year-old boy presented to the Emergency room with recurrent episodes of vomiting. He had a prior history of embolized Vein of Galen malformation (treated at the age of 3 months) complicated by intraventricular hemorrhage and hydrocephalus which was treated with a VPS (age of 3 months). Over a 6-month period, he was hospitalized on four separate occasions for transient episodes of intractable vomiting, lasting on average <1 day. On his third hospitalization, a brain MRI [
(a) Baseline noncontrast axial T2 magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) demonstrating baseline ventricle size. (b) Noncontrast axial computed tomography (CT) in a 4-year-old boy with known ventriculoperitoneal shunt demonstrating acute hydrocephalus and increased ventricle size when compared with his baseline. (c) Repeat MRI on the morning of the scheduled OR demonstrating spontaneous resolution of hydrocephalus coinciding with symptomatic improvement. (d) Noncontrast axial CT performed a few weeks later demonstrating acute hydrocephalus.
Transient hydrocephalus has been described in pediatric patients with several proposed mechanisms, including intraventricular hemorrhage, suspension of ACTH therapy, carbon monoxide suspension, as well as other unknown etiologies.[
This case report is unique in that the 4-year-old boy already had a VP shunt in place. The transient hydrocephalus was most likely due to transient shunt dysfunction. The on-off shunt failure, as mentioned by Cengiz et al.,[
It is also possible that the catheter could transiently have been obstructed by blood cells or a heap of proteins in the CSF. One review analyzed patients after VP shunt insertion (15-year follow-up); here, 84% of patients required a revision, with catheter occlusion being the primary reason for VPS revision.[
Although transient hydrocephalus due to VPS dysfunction in children is rare, it should be suspected in certain patients with a VPS shunt presenting with transient or improving symptoms.
Treatment may range from conservative medical management to surgical intervention and shunt revision. Thorough workup and careful monitoring of patient status are important to guide surgical decision-making in patients suffering from suspected transient VPS malfunction.
The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate patient consent.
There are no conflicts of interest.
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