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Slit Ventricle Syndrome

  I have congenital hydrocephalus and a T-6 meningocele. I went to my surgeon for a check-up since I was having a lot of headaches. After looking at my CT Scan my surgeon said my ventricles are practically non-existent. He called this Slit Ventricle Syndrome. He advised me to leave things alone until I started having real problems with the shunt. He said 3rd Ventriculostomy might be an option for me but his advice would be to leave it alone for now. Does this sound right to you? He said my physical exam was normal. Headaches and lack of concentration are the only symptoms I seem to be having right now. I thought Slit Ventricle Syndrome meant that the shunt wasn't working like it is supposed to. It doesn't seem right to me to not do anything about it.  
Dear Diana:
Sorry to hear about your headaches.  I need to tell you that without viewing the CT of your brain showing the slit ventricles, I really can not make a comment on the slit ventricles.  Usually, the shunt will drain the fluid in the CSF in such a way that enough fluid is drained so that there isn't build up of fluid and increased intracranial pressure.  If too much fluid is being drained off, then the ventricles become small (slit-like) and the fluid is decreased in the brain CSF.  This can also cause headaches, but not increased intracranial pressure.  On the newer shunts, there is a small valve on the shunts that can be adjusted to change the pressure needed to open the valve.  The neurosurgeon can alter this valve with a special device.  I guess you have one of the older shunts that doesn't have an adjustable valve?  Since the shunt has likely been in for a awhile and you haven't had this problem before, you might want to keep very close watch on how you feel and the quality of the headaches.  Assuming that the shunt is okay, you might boost your fluid and salt intake just abit and see if this makes any difference in your headache.  If your headache is tolerable that is okay for now, but if it changes, I would go back to your neurosurgeon and have him take alook at your shunt again.  Let us know if we can help any further.
CCF Neuro[P] MD

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