Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Surg Neurol. 2005 Jun;63(6):529-31; discussion 531-2.

The use of ventriculoperitoneal shunts for uncontrollable intracranial hypertension without ventriculomegally secondary to HIV-associated cryptococcal meningitis.

Author information

  • 1Department of Neurosurgery, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA.



The risks associated with implanting a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) shunt in immunocompromised patients with ongoing CSF infection have historically discouraged surgeons from implanting CSF shunts in patients with HIV and cryptococcal meningitis. However, this patient population often requires frequent lumbar punctures to manage elevated intracranial pressure (ICP) secondary to cryptococcal infection. To date, only 7 cases of ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunting for the treatment of intracranial hypertension in patients with HIV-associated cryptococcal meningitis have been reported. Few of these reports have included outcomes more than 3 months postsurgery. It remains unclear if VP shunts are an effective long-term treatment of intracranial hypertension in this patient population.


Two patients with HIV/AIDS (CD4 counts of 8 and 81 cells/mm(3)) presented with altered mental status, visual changes, florid cryptococcal meningitis, and elevated ICP (>500 mm CSF) without evidence of hydrocephalus on computed tomography scan. Both patients experienced rapid reversal of symptoms with external lumbar CSF drainage, and remained lumbar drain-dependent after 2 weeks of amphotericin B and flucytosine therapy. Despite evidence of unresolved cryptococcal meningitis, each patient underwent implantation of a VP shunt without complication and was discharged on lifetime fluconazole therapy. They remained asymptomatic at 12 and 16 months after surgery without evidence of shunt infection or malfunction.


Patients with intracranial hypertension and HIV-associated cryptococcal meningitis who cannot tolerate cessation of external lumbar CSF drainage or frequent lumbar punctures may be considered for VP shunt placement despite severe immunosuppression and persistent CSF cryptococcal infection.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk