Ventriculoperitoneal shunt block: what are the best predictive clinical indicators?

Archives of Disease in Childhood
N P BarnesD Thompson

Abstract

To evaluate the predictive value of symptoms, signs, and radiographic findings accompanying presumed ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt malfunction, by comparing presentation with operative findings and subsequent clinical course. Prospective study of all 53 patient referrals to a paediatric neurosurgical centre between April and November 1999 with a diagnosis of presumed shunt malfunction. Referral pattern, presenting symptoms and signs, results of computed tomography (CT) scanning, operative findings, and clinical outcome were recorded. Two patient groups were defined, one with proven shunt block, the other with presumed normal shunt function. Symptomatology, CT scan findings, and the subsequent clinical course for each group were then compared. Common presenting features were headache, drowsiness, and vomiting. CT scans were performed in all patients. Thirty seven had operatively proven shunt malfunction, of whom 34 had shunt block and three shunt infection; 84% with shunt block had increased ventricle size when compared with previous imaging. For the two patient groups (with and without shunt block), odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals on their presenting symptoms were headache 1.5 (0.27 to 10.9), vomiting 0.9 (0.25 to 3...Continue Reading

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