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Ventriculo-Atrial Shunt

Last Updated: April 6, 2019

Introduction

The peritoneum is the preferred distal terminus of a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) shunt. However, other anatomic locations can be considered when the peritoneum is not appropriate, such as in patients with infection or enough adhesions to prevent effective CSF absorption. Other potential distal sites include the pleural space, gallbladder, and cardiac atrium. 

A number of potential drawbacks to using a ventriculoatrial (VA) shunt exist. (1) A limited amount of catheter can be placed in the atrium, and growing children often need future revisions to lengthen the catheter. (2) Nephritis is a rare but particular complication that can result from a VA shunt. (3) A shunt might be exposed to infection if the patient develops bacteremia. (4) Use of a shunt can worsen certain cardiac o...