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Multiple Abdominal abscesses following ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement in an immunosuppressed patient: An illustrative case.

BACKGROUND: Ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt placement is one of the most performed procedures in neurosurgery to treat various types of hydrocephalus (HC). Immediate or late postoperative complications may quite commonly occur, especially in immunosuppressed patients, who are predisposed to develop rare and difficult-to-treat conditions.

CASE DESCRIPTION: Herein, we report the case of a 41-year-old female patient with a prior history of acute myeloid leukemia, followed by a tetra-ventricular acute HC due to a spontaneous non-aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage. After an urgent external ventricular drainage placement, she underwent careful testing of "shunt dependency," which ended with a VP shunt placement. After 2 months, she presented at the emergency department with worsening abdominal pain and fever. She underwent a computed tomography scan with contrast administration, which has shown abscesses in the abdominal cavity. An urgent surgical revision of the VP shunt and antibiotics administration followed this. After inflammatory markers normalization, due to the high risk of post-infective peritoneal adherence and consequent impairment of cerebrospinal fluid absorption, a ventriculoatrial shunt was considered the most appropriate solution.

CONCLUSION: Abdominal abscesses are a rare but subtle complication after VP shunt placement. Their management depends on etiology, patient clinical characteristics, and manifestations. Prompt interventions have been shown to improve clinical outcomes and optimize quality of life in such delicate patients.

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