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Headaches to be expected after VP shunt removed and VA shunt placed?
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Headaches to be expected after VP shunt removed and VA shunt placed?

My 3-year-old had to have a VA shunt placed due to his VP shunt having been infected with MRSA.  Since the placement in June he has had 2 shunt failures and still is continuing to get headaches.  He CT scan is normal (and has been during shunt failure) but he gets headaches when he cries and when sleeping at night.  Is it possible the shunt is draining too slow?  His NS said she thought they are migrains, but they are triggered by crying and sleeping. Let me say they are very, very severe headaches, as severe as when he overdrained before or had a shunt failure.

Thank you,
Robynn
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Avatar_dr_m_tn
Hi,
The headaches could be related to improper functioning of the shunt . When the shunt doesn’t drain properly , there is an increased intracranial pressure leading to headaches . When the child cries or lies down , the pressure is all the more increased leading to severe headache .  Please discuss this possibility with the neurosurgeon and consider another shunt replacement since the increased pressure may lead to many complications . Please go for an MRI to check the functioning of the shunt . Hope this helps you . Take care and regards !  

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Avatar_n_tn
My son had a VP shunt placed in his head when he was 4 months old. He did fine with the shunt all the time he had it. It was initially placed due to excessive fluid on the brain that was noticed at two months but was not brought to our attention until he was four months old. Now he has a stiff neck for about two days now and it is really a great concern to our family. Is this anything related to the removal or could it be something else!? Please and Thank You!
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Avatar_m_tn
I just read your question and i thought may be i could be able to ask you.My daughter
was born premature she also has congenital hydrosephalus.She is 21 now,since March of this year 2009 she has been in and out of the hospital's having revision's,and also her cathater had pulled out of the abdomen and wrapped around her uterus,so they performed a surgery and externalized her.We then went home with iv antibiotic's with pic line.Then she ended up going back for another surgery to replace the cathater,so again they opened her abdomen again.Went in for her 4 weekcheck up theytold me that she had another infection so they put a permanent port line going into her heart.Every thing was looking great home visiting nurse came for her visit and recommended that i take her back to the doctor,so i did. At that time they told me that my daughter had some how caught 3 infection's, 1 staph,2strep,3entrognouse. Soin the last 4 weeks she has been in the hospital on strong antibiotic's, also externalized again.She has recenty had to go from a vp shunt to a va shunt. This is very scary for our family. This last surgery that was done was 330 surgery's that she has had. So now that i wrote you a book my actual question to you is do you feel that this condition our children have is terminal and after so many surgery's do they run out of option's.

                                                            THANK YOU
                                                            Just a very stressed mother.  
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633036_tn?1223459595
Hi, I too have a shunt, a VA shunt for that matter :)
Ive had my VA shunt since february 09, after my abdomen wouldnt absorb any more fluid from the VP shunt.
My VA shunt has malfunctioned a fairbit for numerous reasons, in june 09, it malfunctioned and was removed altogether for 3 weeks, with no more shunt and had a fenestration instead, which didnt work! So had it put back in in july. Then it drained too much, so in november i had it replaced with a programmable shunt, then in december i got an infection from the previous surgery 3 weeks later, so had it replaced at the end of december once the infection cleared.

Ive had many shunt blockages and malfunctions now, many with the VP shunt too and each time its happened, Ive known and my parents have known without needing any tests! Its mothers instinct to know when your child isnt right and of course your child is fully aware.
Never once have my CT scans came back abnormal even when i had no shunt for 3 weeks!! I was in excruiating pain and my fluid accumaltion is very high, so after 3 weeks of it building up at a litre of CSF every 2 days, my head should have exploded, but no evidence came up on a scan!!

Have you had your little boys optic nerves checked? They may show pressure.
Good luck xx
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Avatar_n_tn
My son has had a shunt since birth and is going on 17. he has never had a revision. However, he is now suffering headaches and has had some vomitting over the past week. It concerns me. The neruo at Loma Linda in Calif. doesn't think his VP should even be working after all this time. So, he does not recommend going in. There is excessive CF fluid that shows on a CT scan but with no baseline to compare he is not sure. There does not appear to be any compression / pressure showing on the CT or in his vitals. So, the question is,..should we go in for exploratory or leave it be and hope he gets better??? I just don't know.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you all for your comments.  I took my son to a hospital 6 hours away for a 2nd opinion and he was promptly hospitalized in the PICU. The surgeon thought it would be best to perform a third ventriculostomy to make him shunt free. Unfortunately during the surgery the basilar artery was hit and he ended up with a crainiotomy and extensive surgery to repair the artery.  They ended up harvesting a piece of his temporal muscle to help anchor the artery.  My Dyl Pickle is not longer the child he once was, but I am so grateful he is alive. The surgeon had his best interest at heart and I hold no ill will.  I just wished the the original physician had listened to me and paid attention to my son. He is doing better now and his recovery has impressed his doctors. He will never be whole again, but he is certainly better off with this new doctor.
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Avatar_f_tn
My stepson who is 26 had a VP shunt put in when he was an infant. He lived with that shut with no problems for 23 years. The doctors were amazed that he had no revision before. He was experiencing major head aches for a few months. When we finally took him to a hospital they said that the tubing for the shunt was infected. They replaced that. Then shorly after his shunt was not working and hey replaced it with a new one. That became infected. They tehn removed that shunt and once the infection cleared up inserted a new one. That became infected. Everytime a new shunt was placed in his head it became infected. This went on for over 3 months. He had kidney failure and started having seizures.
He was put on anti seizure meds and had dialysis. Once all of that was better they inserted a new shunt. After 11 surgeries he finally had a shunt that was working properly.
He entered rehab to learn how to walk ad regain some of his strength.
When he finally came home we thought taht it was all over and they had finally fixed the problem.
Soon after he was home he began to have pain in his head. All of the tests for the shunt came back that all was working fine.
The doctors have been saying that it is migraines. He gets violently ill when he gets one of these attacks. He has constant head pains but about once a week he gets this severe pain associated with vomiting.
He has had no life since all of the surgeries. He cannot function like he used to before.
I could go on and on for a long time about all of this but it really is very hard to watch someone so young suffer like this. The doctors have just recently told him tha he will have to live with this pain or the rest of his life. They cannot find what is causing this severe pain.
I would like to know if anyone else has or knos someone with similar pain.
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Avatar_f_tn
My heart breaks for your stepson.  My son is 14 and has had a shunt since he was 4 1/2.  The first shunt malfunctioned about four years ago.  His case was similar to your stepson - a revision, that got infected, then the externalized shunt got infected.  

My son has been having severe headaches since February and after several non-invasive tests, he had surgeries to explore the shunt, revise the shunt, externalize it, place a lumbar shunt...Finally, the shunt was internalized and revised to a ventriculoarterial shunt.  He still has headaches.  All his scans show normal ventricals.  

The only time his headaches were almost gone was when the shunt was externalized.  But the neurosurgeon told my husband and me that they are unable to mimic the external shunt exactly.

I am reluctant to have our son undergo further surgeries, yet I don't know that he can live like this.

I wanted to respond so that you know there are others living with this kind of pain.



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Avatar_f_tn
Hi I am not a doctor, but I am a mother , my child is also operated with VP shunt at the age of 1 month, I hope you will help me , please advise does your child is having any problem with his physical activities, many people says that VP shunt child having abnormality in their behaviour and growth, pls tell me when your child gets started walking and speaking becoz my son is of 17 month now but he did not move from one place to another place, he respond to sound as per doctor he is normal but activities will be delayed , is it true?
what is the age of your child now and what activities he is doing now.
Please advise I feel so helpless to see that all other childrens of his age walking and playing outside but my child cant do that ....

Please pray for my kid ....
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