Acta Neurochir (2016) 158:109–116
To drain the excess of cerebrospinal fluid in a hydrocephalus patient, a catheter is inserted into one of the brain ventricles and then connected to a valve. This so-called ventricular catheter is a standard-size, flexible tubing with a number of holes placed symmetrically around several transversal sections or “drainage segments”. Three-dimensional computational dynamics shows that most of the fluid volume flows through the drainage segment closest to the valve. This fact raises the likelihood that those holes and then the lumen get clogged by the cells and macromolecules present in the cerebrospinal fluid, provoking malfunction of the whole system. In order to better understand the flow pattern, we have carried out a parametric study via numerical models of ventricular catheters.
Methods The parameters chosen are the number of drainage segments, the distances between them, the number and diameter of the holes on each segment, as well as their relative angular position.
Results These parameters were found to have a direct consequence on the flow distribution and shear stress of the catheter. As a consequence, we formulate general principles for ventricular catheter design.
Conclusions These principles can help develop new catheters with homogeneous flow patterns, thus possibly extending their lifetime.