View Full Version : Anybody had experience with or knows something about a cerebral shunt?
2006-Apr-25, 04:26 PM
A few weeks ago a relative had an aneurism rupture. Thankfully it was self-sealing and closed after the initial release. Additional medical attention has satisfactorily taken the additional steps to ensure that it has been sealed (they opted for a coiling procedure due to the location).
Due to complications from the burst, the cerebrospinal fluid production rate is outpacing the absorption rate. The doctors have been draining the excess fluid but have now determined that the imbalance isn't going to corrected itself soon (i.e. prior to being otherwise ready to be released). Thus they're looking at placing a shunt to drain the fluid into the torso.
Naturally, there's some concern over just what this will entail and long term effects.
I've looked around, Wikipedia, WebMD, etc., but I'd also like to get some personal experiences.
So, if there's anybody here that has, has had, or knows somebody with one, could you pass on your experiences?
2006-Apr-25, 07:11 PM
My best wishes to your relative. Is he or she diabetic?
2006-Apr-25, 08:10 PM
No, not diabetic and in relatively good health. Ironically they were at a gym when it burst. 50% mortality rate before getting to the hospital and 25% mortality rate after arrival is what the doctors told them; sobering odds.
Thankfully the scary period has past. It’s now into the recovery and how will life change phase. Well actually it’s in the “I’m going to have another if those seniors sharing ICU don’t turn their hearing aids up and TV volumes down below window shattering.”
2006-Apr-25, 08:38 PM
I would listen to your doctor's advice. If the doctors tell you your relative needs a shunt, listen. My grandmother developed hydrocephalus, resulting in repeated, debilitating seizures until they put in her shunt. The adult human brain is not meant to deal with that sort of increased pressure, and copes with it very poorly. People with the problem from birth can sometimes cope with it without noticable problems, but the adult brain cannot. I'm not doctor so I can't judge whether her or she actually needs it or not, that is between you and the doctors, but I do know the implications of not getting one if it is seriously needed can be very, very bad indeed.
2006-Apr-25, 11:45 PM
Oh there's no question on getting it. It's more a matter of what are we, and her in particular, in for?
Her husband's an engineer too, so we're looking at failure rates (which Wiki indicates is relatively high, whatever "high" is), physical discomfort, noticability by others, maintenance period and requirements, is it noticably when the valve opens, etc. Hence wondering if anybody here has had first-hand dealings with them.
So if I might ask, how did you grandmother adapt? Is is one of those almost "routine" procedures where they install it and you can almost forget about it once the healing around the procedure area finishes? (Granted that anything involving penetrating the skull isn't exactly "routine".)
2006-Apr-26, 02:55 AM
We don't know, she was so far gone by that point she never recovered. The seizures stopped, though.
You have to remember that the human body is one of the most inhosptiable environments known. Few things can last very long there. Besides the normal problems with dealing with a moving, highly caustic environemnt, the human body is set up to defeat anything you try to put inside it. You have to have reasonable expections about the lifespan and realiability of equipment operating under those conditions.
2006-Apr-26, 09:33 AM
Your relative is indeed lucky to survive undamaged.
The condition that they have and TBC refers to is otherwise known, when it develops, as "hydrocephalus". You'll find lots of websites about that, probably more than for a cerebral shunt.
I'm no specialist in this, but you will be in contact with those who are.
And as TBC says, listen to the doctors and to the specialist nurses, who may have more time to talk you and them through this. Ask if there is a patient's support group, of people who have been through it already.
This is an established procedure, done for many years and a well developed technology. BUt not without problems or need for routine 'maintenance'.
2006-Apr-26, 10:07 AM
please refer this site if find some information.
2006-Apr-26, 10:18 AM
Wow - this thread brings up some unpleasant memories.My brother had a shunt implanted for closed head trauma that he did not survive.
Fluids that drain inside the meninges (the three membranes that cover and protect the CS system from the outside world) cause a rise in internal pressure which in turn causes disruption of the delicate structures inside the brain. In this worst case scenario, the sudden rise in pressure causes systematic rupture of smaller vessels and capillaries which in turn cause an increase in pressure damaging more blood vessels thus completing a cycle. This increase in pressure also causes gross disruptions of neural structures which in tandem with the disruption of blood supply causes neural death. At this point, whole systems begin to fail.
In my brother's case, he lost motor function first, then probably occipital and cerebral function. This occurred over the course of two hours. Over the next few hours, functions involving the brain stem (the innermost area of the brain) began to deteriorate to the point of brain death. From a legal standpoint, this event occurred one week after his accident but in reality it probably occurred less than 24 hours later. The delay was caused by the gravity of the decisions that had to be made by our family collectively, a day to round up potential organ recipients and two days for him to qualify for a legal declaration. In Texas, only one test could be performed in a 24-hour period and it is not uncommon for spontaneous breaths to be taken due to muscle memory or rhythm as an after effect of the ventilator.
2006-Apr-26, 12:32 PM
I have a friend whose 28 year old son has had a cerebral shunt since soon after his birth. He suffers from spina bifida. Despite these problems he seems to function very well, having graduated from highschool and college and he holds a good job. To my knowledge, the shunt has been replaced at least once, due to some malfunction, but his main problem with it has been that his hair doesn't cover it to his satisfaction. Best of luck to your relative.
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