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VP Shunt Overdrainage

Has anyone ever experience shunt overdrainage? Was it a continuing problem, and what did you do?
My twin sister is experiencing pressure around her ears (her ears feel blocked all the time) and occasionally gets headaches - they seem to be better when she lies down - also she has nauseau on and off.
We have been to her neurosurg. and he suggests changing the shunt to a programmable - does anyone have any experience with these shunts? My sister normally uses a medium pressure valve.
10 Responses
Avatar universal
i have a programmable. it works really well. because of my history the gave me that. and so i don't have to have anymore surgeries. YAY!! it depends on the company who made the shunt.... but, they gave me a book about it and what it does... and they gave me a shunt card so i can warn people that i have a shunt.
1294000 tn?1272342123
My wife has the same symptoms plus issues with tingling and numbing skin and sudden on sets of stiffness about the neck and back. She Has also been complaining of a "huming" in her ear (1 ear due to unilateral deafness). I dont know if your wife has had any of these but she asked me this evening to get online to see if there was a connection between the humming and over drainage. Oh yeah...she has the non programable VP shunt.
My daughter has whishing sounds in ears. She has pain in her neck and headache above her eyes. She says loud sound causes pain in her ears. Her VP Shunt has been overdraining.
Avatar universal
hi there. i had a programmable vp shunt previously which was revised 7 times from 2006 till now in 2010. I now swopped to a younger neurosurgeon newer ideas who placed the VP shunt stereotactically intraventricular and also used and orbis sigma vp shunt. according to him i will get used to the different pressures??  it was fitted october 11 and the distal (peritoneal) point already migrated to the skin, so on november 8 I already had a revision again. precisely a week later i had so much abdominal pain i presented with an acute abdomen, and had a laparoscopy for ?Appendix. at the end it was only a lot of bloody CSF in my abdomen irritating the peritoneum, so my general surgeon just cleaned the abdomen out and i can live again. i am a registered nurse scrubbing in theatre standing all day with no leave or sick leave left. no husband or family to support me financially so i don't have a choice but to start working as soon as i am discharged from hospital. when i read aboout people being sick for a few months or weeks i can just laugh! I have exactly the same symptoms than your twin sister,except that my headache is constantly there when i am sitting or standing. she is definitely having low pressure headache. a programmable shunt is definitely a good option i think personally. thing is just that it blocked every time with me. good luck!!
I have the same exact problems as you but i cannot get anyone to help me, my doctor just makes up excuses so he will not have to do anything. I got my programmable shunt in 2012 it has never worked, and i do not know what to do. I have to drink coffee constantly just to stay awake.
Avatar universal
hi my brother is now 31 and has had hydrocephalus since he was 12. He has had 7 operations to change his v p shunt. he had a revision done in march but since then the whole family have come to the conclusion he is not the same person. alot has changed, he's become aggressive, impatient and swearing an aful lot wich is unlike him in soooo many ways. he was admitted to hospital tonight to have a ct scan and bloods as his symtoms have been for the last two days- stabbing pains on the right side of his hed where the shunt is, he explained himself feeling hungover but hasnt drunk for over a year.he feels wobbely and all his limbs feel jelly like, a little light sensetive and some confusion. as we await results tomorrow myself and a few other family members have been looking up 'over drainage' can any one shed some light on our dialema as over drainage does not show up on ct scan. thanks stephanie and co.
Overdrainage shows on CT scan when the ventricle with the shunt catheter is slit-like and patient is symtomatic.
Avatar universal
I have also experienced severe light sensitivity as well as gait disturbances. You can almost be sure it is overdrainage. What the personality change is concerned it is possible that the shunt was inserted in a specific area which concerns the personality. As you know certain areas of the brain influences the speech, personality etc.my previous shunt could be set and when I ealked all over my neuro postop he immediately made the shunt drain slower.brain bleeding can also change the petsonality like it was the case with me after one surgery. Severe overdraining result in brainbleeds sometimes but that will show on the ct scan... Please keep me posted and good luck
Avatar universal
Hello. I have a vp shunt and Friday I started experiencing headaches. Lasted all week I finally went to the er on Monday and they said that it was over draining and that I had a brain bleed. The neurosurgeon adjusted my shunt to slow the flow. Now the surgeon says to just wait it out. Since the adjustment my symproms have not improved only gotten worse. They include a horrible headache, vomiting,blurred vision,pain in my legs,and everything sound muffled. They have given me oxycodone and it doesn't help the pain at all. I went to the er again on Thursday and they keep saying wait it out. Has anyone else ever experienced anything similar?
Hello, I am basically going through the same thing. My vp shunt was placed on March 11 and I was doing great. Then on March 29 I started having a headache while driving, it was horrible and I almost did not make it home. Next day it was still going on really strong and I was throwing up, so I went to ER. They did a CT scan, said everything looked fine and dismissed it as a migraine. But I knew it was not a migraine!! I was finally able to see my surgeon yesterday and he told me that what I had was a spinal headache...if I lie down I am ok, but as soon as I sit or stand up the pain is severe and incapacitating.  He told me to wait one more week and if my head does not get used to the pressure changes caused by the shunt he will admit me next Monday and change my shunt to a programmable one. I am dreading  the thought of having to go through surgery again, but it does not seem like my body is getting used to this one...
Dont wait it out. Get another opinion at another Healthcare System.
My adult daughter has had a 10 year history of shunt overdrainage.During the period she has had one eye surgery shunt side and now droopy eyelid.She has chronic neck pain, dizziness, nausea, head pain,sound causes ear discomfort. Her mental symptoms would change like a switch flipped and she would become agitated. Then as a switch flipped again she would return to her regular self..The NS changed her setting to the last one at 2.5 and we are waiting. They want to do a 3-5 minute MRI to see if they have the result they want.
Avatar universal
My daughter has these symptoms and her Medtronics VP programmable shunt has had a 10 year history of overdrainage. We are out of shunt settings. Check out the UCLA research article on "Slit Ventricle Syndrome"
Avatar universal
My 15 y/o son (and I) are currently in the hospital with very similar symptoms. Currently he has a VP medium flow shunt. Weve been fortunate that so far its only needed to be revised twice. About 6 months ago really 8 now in the summer my son started experiencing anxiety with some depression. After about a month of those symptoms starting he began to have what we thought were anxiety attacks. With this he started getting headaches which turned into a chronic headache at a moderate level. 5 on a one-to-ten scale. The personality changes we're completely opposite to my son's normal personality. Progressively over 6 months the headache started to get worse in the late afternoon. Laying down and resting for several hours seem to be the only relief. Doctor's visits deemed psychological problems and he was started on Prozac for depression and clonidine 4 anxiety. 2 months ago his headache turned into a full-on migraine headache. He does actually have migraines. The first one was when he was six. But they were managed very easily with typical migraine medication. And he's only had 5 in 9 years. This migraine went to a level 10 on a one-to-ten scale and would not come down. He had extreme light sensitivity and would suddenly be struck with nausea and vomiting and feeling like he was going to pass out. Got in with the neurologist who gave him stronger rescue medicine. Which only helped relieve the pain if he stayed lying down for several hours. Once he got up none of the medicine even touched the pain. Went back to the neurologist who then put him on daily prophylactic medicine Topamax which is used to treat chronic migraine. And then upped the type of rescue medicine to Midrin and Imitrex. This seemed to work for a while and we had hope. 3 weeks into this treatment he started getting breakthrough headaches again that came on quickly with activity that very quickly progressed to coming on quickly just to standing up. Since nothing was helping it we were headed to Children's hospital E.R. Heres where it gets interesting, our dog knows when my son is going into an aura I took him to the emergency room because it's pain level is still a 10
Avatar universal
Sorry hit send before done. Our dog gets on my son and licks him vigorously when he gets a migraine aura and 10 pain level. My son was on his back, the dog laid on him (dog weighs 76 pounds) and licked him. About 2 minutes later my son said the pressure of the dog felt good and his pain dropped to a 2 (1-10 scale) 5 min after dog got off, back up to 10. Went to E.R.but i took a backpack with 20 pounds of weight plates with us to keep pressure. Neuro came in while there, but noone would listen to me about the weight. Wound up back at ER 3 days later. Wed been there for 3 days when a different neurologist came in and actually listened to us. Tried a few things and said it was a low pressure headache. The shunt was probably taking too much fluid off. Thats where we are now. I will update with resolution as soon as i know.
Avatar universal
When I last commented my son in the hospital and they were treating him solely for migraine. I did make Neuro surgery co.e him and address the "low pressure" issue that some of the residents and neurologists inn his team had talked about. Neurosurgery put him in a belly binder for minimum of 2 weeks. Pain and symptoms were significantly improved within 4 hours of wearing. Saw neurosurgeon for folloow up 8weeks later. Within 5 min our doctor figured out his shunt was "syphoning" fluid from his brain everytime he stood up. Our surgeon does not like programmable shunts so he instead proposed an anti-syphoning device. He said the best one is made in Germany so 2 weeks later my son had surgery to modify his shunt. He awoke from surgery with no pain, no headache, and could focus his eyes on the clock across the room. He cried tears of joy. Je has not had a migraine since.

He now does have to drink a lot of water consistently and eat regularly to help maintain his pressure. He is an athlete so he also has to use electrolyte powder / tablets to hang in to his fluid better as well.
Was the belly binder weighted?  Is this why he tried it?
Hi getz5266.  We're happy you found our forum.  If you have a question regarding your own situation, we'd be happy to try and help.  It's best to post your own question, however, for better answers.  
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