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<< Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt Complications In Children: An Evidence-Based Approach To Emergency Department Management

Introduction

Ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunts are the treatment of choice for patients with hydrocephalus, an excessive accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) within the brain caused by an imbalance between CSF production, flow, or absorption. Most commonly, pressure builds up proximal to an obstruction, leading to ventricular dilatation and raised intracranial pressure (ICP).(See Figure 1). The pathophysiology of hydrocephalus has been known since the 1800s, but effective treatment was not available until the 1950s, when John Holter developed a shunt to allow drainage of excess CSF, in an attempt to treat his own son, who was suffering from hydrocephalus.Since then, the standard treatment of hydrocephalus has been the insertion of a ventricular shunt, and it has dramatically reduced the morbidity and mortality of hydrocephalus.3,4

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