Ventriculoperitoneal shunting constitutes the standard procedure for draining cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in children with hydrocephalus. Ventriculoatrial and ventriculopleural shunting are alternative methods of CSF drainage, which have gained less acceptance. Ventriculopleural shunts are seldom used owing to justified fears of pneumothorax and symptomatic effusions of CSF. The addition of an antisiphon device to standard shunt systems seems to have prevented CSF pleural effusion. From 1988 to 1998, we treated each of six hydrocephalic children with a ventriculopleural shunt. In five cases we used new-technology valves designed to prevent the effects of siphoning with current differential pressure valves. Peritoneal adhesions, recent peritonitis, ascites, and obstruction of a previous ventriculoatrial shunt were the indications for pleural shunting. After a mean follow-up period of 2.5 years all shunts were functioning adequately. Only one patient showed transient symptoms of CSF overdrainage, which were corrected by up-grading the valve setting with the magnet. A late death was unrelated to the pleural shunting procedure. The use of valves of a new design designed to prevent overdrainage seems to account for the satisfactory outcomes observed in this series. We suggest that ventriculopleural shunting should be considered as the preferred alternative to peritoneal drainage in children with intra-abdominal adhesions or with a history of recent peritoneal infection.
Child s Nervous System 01/2001; 16(12):867-71. DOI:10.1007/PL00007282 · 1.16 Impact Factor