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Value of computerized shunt infusion study in assessment of pediatric hydrocephalus shunt function-a two center cross-sectional study.

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Dias, Sandra Fernandes 
Lalou, Afroditi-Despina 
Spang, Regine 
Haas-Lude, Karin 
Garnett, Matthew 


BACKGROUND: Hydrocephalus shunt malfunction can-also in children-occur insidiously without clear symptoms of raised intracranial pressure (ICP) or changes in ventricular size, imposing a diagnostic challenge. Computerized shunt infusion studies enable quantitative shunt function assessment. We report on feasibility and results of this technique in children in a two center cross-sectional study. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Shunt infusion study (SIS) is performed with two needles inserted into a pre-chamber for ICP recording and CSF infusion. After baseline ICP recording, constant rate infusion is started until a new ICP plateau (ICPpl) is reached. Dedicated software containing the shunt's resistance characteristics calculates ICP and its amplitude outflow resistance and critical shunt pressure (CSP). Overall, 203 SIS were performed in 166 children. Shunts were defined as functional if ICPpl was  5 mmHg above CSP and borderline in between. RESULTS: Forty-one shunts (20.2%) were found obstructed, 26 (12.8%) had borderline characteristics, and 136 (67%) were functional. Baseline ICP in obstructed shunts was significantly above shunt operating pressure. CSF outflow resistance (Rout) and ∆ICP plateau were significantly elevated in obstructed shunts, with cut-off thresholds of 8.07 mmHg min/ml and 11.74 mmHg respectively. Subgroup analysis showed smaller ventricles in 69% of revised cases. CONCLUSION: SIS is a feasible, reliable, and radiation-free technique for quantitative shunt assessment to rule out or prove shunt malfunction. Dedicated software containing shunt hydrodynamic characteristics is necessary and small children may need short-term sedation. Due to the clinical and inherent economic advantages, SIS should be more frequently used in pediatric neurosurgery.



Hydrocephalus, Intracranial pressure, Pediatric neurosurgery, Shunt dysfunction, Shunt infusion study, Cerebrospinal Fluid Shunts, Child, Cross-Sectional Studies, Humans, Hydrocephalus, Intracranial Hypertension, Intracranial Pressure

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Childs Nerv Syst

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC


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