[A Case of Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt Dysfunction in an Adult Secondary to Constipation]

Lisa Nakamura, Ryuta Saito, Masayuki Kanamori, Takahiro Morita, Ryosuke Tashiro, Teiji Tominaga
No Shinkei Geka. Neurological Surgery 2018, 46 (5): 385-389

INTRODUCTION: Ventriculoperitoneal(VP)shunts function because of the pressure differential between the intracranial space and the peritoneal cavity. Although chronic constipation is often a cause of VP shunt dysfunction in children, it is not well recognized in adults. We present a case of shunt dysfunction that not only resolved after resolution of constipation but also resulted in overdrainage.

CASE REPORT: A 28-year-old woman who had a VP shunt placed 11 years prior for hydrocephalus was referred to our department because of an enlarged ventricle diagnosed with computed tomography(CT). She had a previous history of pineal germinoma and a VP shunt was placed to treat the associated hydrocephalus. At presentation, she complained of headache and somnolence. Shunt dysfunction was suspected, but no problem was detected in the shunt system, including pressure settings. As constipation was detected, we treated this condition. Soon after, her symptoms resolved and ventricle size normalized. She was discharged without any deficit, but overdrainage was detected with CT obtained 1 month later.

CONCLUSION: Although constipation is not a common cause of shunt dysfunction in adult patients, it is important to consider to avoid unnecessary shunt revision. In the present case, resolution of chronic constipation resulted in resolution of shunt dysfunction. This suggests the importance of resolution of constipation in case of shunt adjustment, even in adult cases.

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