Risk Management Pitfalls For Patients With VP Shunt Complications
“I am concerned that my patient may have a VP shunt obstruction. The neurosurgical resident is at the bedside and pumps the shunt, which has free flow. Because of this, he wants to send the patient home.”
Pumping the shunt has been shown not to be a reliable predictor of shunt patency. If clinical suspicion for an obstruction is still high, further workup and management may be needed.
“My patient has clinical signs of shunt obstruction, but has a normal head CT scan and shunt series, so his symptoms must not be related to his shunt.”
Unfortunately, many patients can have normal or unchanged imaging and still have a shunt complication. If the suspicion for a shunt complication is high, it is advisable to discuss the case with the patient’s neurosurgeon and consider further imaging or intervention.
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