What should we do with a discontinued shunt?

Childs Nerv Syst (2010) 26:791–796. DOI 10.1007/s00381-009-1061-x

The reported rate is up to 10% of shunt disconnection or fracture, either ventriculoperitoneal or subduroperitoneal. However, not all of shunt discontinuity is associated with shunt malfunction. We analyzed the discontinuity of the shunt system and related factors and tried to present a follow-up policy.

Methods This is a retrospective study involving 22 patients who presented with shunt disconnection because of malfunction or other reasons between January 2003 and October 2008. To evaluate shunt function, we performed a shuntogram, temporary ligation, or intraoperative exploration.

Results Nine (40.9%) of 22 patients had nonfunctioning shunts. The shunt system was removed in eight cases, and one patient refused surgical management. Of these 22 patients with disconnected shunts, 17 shunts placed in the occipital area were discontinued. The discontinuations were mostly fractured at neck (52%), not disconnected at connection site.

Conclusion Shunt disconnection has not been always represented a shunt malfunction. We thought many patients with disconnected shunt may be independent from shunt system, and it can be a good chance for patient to remove the shunt system