What is a VP shunt in children?
VP shunts are placed to treat hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus (hi-droh-SEF-eh-less) happens when CSF does not drain out of the hollow spaces inside the brain (called ventricles) as it should. VP shunts drain the extra fluid and help prevent pressure from getting too high in the brain.
What are the 2 most serious complications of children who have VP shunts?
Although obstruction and infection are the most common causes of shunt malfunction, other complications can occur as well, including bowel perforation, pseudocyst formation, and over-draining, which can lead to subdural hematoma formation.
Is a VP shunt visible?
You won’t be able to see the catheter because it will be under your skin. However, you may be able to feel the shunt catheter along your neck. Once all the parts of the shunt are connected, it will start draining the excess CSF as needed to reduce the pressure in your brain.
How can I help my child with a VP shunt?
Do not shower or shampoo your child’s head until the stitches and staples have been taken out. Give your child a sponge bath instead. The wound should not soak in water until the skin is completely healed. Do not push on the part of the shunt that you can feel or see underneath your child’s skin behind the ear.
Can a child with hydrocephalus live a normal life?
There is no cure for hydrocephalus, but with timely diagnosis and treatment, children with hydrocephalus can lead normal lives. They will require close care from physicians, neurosurgeons and sometimes neurologists as well.
Can you fly with a shunt?
Flying in a regular commercial jet is fine for most people with shunts. If you were told years ago not to fly, it’s worth asking your neurosurgeon again as things have changed. Flying in a small, unpressurised plane may not be wise for people with shunts.
Can a child with hydrocephalus walk?
Many children with pediatric hydrocephalus have normal intelligence and physical development, but some may be slower to develop skills such as hand-eye coordination or learning to walk. Some may experience learning problems as they progress in school.
Can a child outgrow hydrocephalus?
Hydrocephalus is a lifelong condition. However, with proper treatment and maintenance, children with hydrocephalus can lead normal lives with few limitations.
What can you not do with a VP shunt?
Do not touch the valve on your head. It is okay for you to lie on the side of your head with the shunt. For 6 weeks, do not do any activity that may cause you to hit your head. You will probably be able to return to work in less than 1 week.