UMEM Educational Pearls - By David Gatz

Category: Neurology

Title: VP Shunt Complications

Keywords: ventriculoperitoneal shunt, neurosurgery (PubMed Search)

Posted: 10/27/2021 by David Gatz, MD (Updated: 3/5/2024)
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Ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunts are common. Unfortunately shunt complications are also common! 


There are 3 major categories of shunt complications:

  1. Mechanical Failure - obstruction, fracture, disconnection, migration, perforation
  2. Functional Failure - overdrainage, slit ventricle syndrome, pseudocyst, ascites, meastasis
  3. Infection - may occur in  up to 10% of patients (bacterial, fungal, parasitic)


Shunt series are helpful, but are NOT 100% sensitive. If you have a clinical concern for a shunt complication, make sure to involve neurosurgery.

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