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Med Biol Eng Comput. 2004 Sep;42(5):644-9.

Infusion technique can be used to distinguish between dysfunction of a hydrocephalus shunt system and a progressive dementia.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering & Informatics, Umeå University Hospital, Umeå, Sweden.


In a deteriorating shunted patient with hydrocephalus, an investigation of shunt function is often performed to distinguish a dysfunctioning shunt from an aggravated condition of the disease. The paper illustrates how a lumbar cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) infusion method can be used to evaluate post-operative deterioration in a shunted patient in order to give the physician valuable support in the shunt revision decision. A 77-year-old man with hydrocephalus was treated operatively by the insertion of a CSF shunt. Owing to shunt failure, the shunt was revised twice during a 5 year period. Using a computerised infusion technique method, with two needles placed in the lumbar subarachnoid space, the CSF dynamic system was determined pre- and post-operatively with the functioning as well as the dysfunctioning shunts. The data were verified with a bench-test of the extirpated CSF shunt. There was a significant difference in conductance G between CSF systems with an open shunt and CSF systems with no shunt or an occluded shunt (deltaG= 38 mm3 s(-1) kPa(-1), p = 0.014, n= 7, ANOVA). CSF dynamics investigations, with and without a shunt, can give valuable clinical support in the management of a deteriorating hydrocephalus patient. With further development of the lumbar infusion method moving towards easy-to-use equipment, there is potential for widespread clinical use.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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