Ventricular shunts and drains


Hydrocephalus is the build-up of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and pressure within the cavities of the brain (ventricles) subsequently causing raised intracranial pressure. Treatment of this condition requires drainage and diversion of the cerebrospinal fluid to reduce the intracranial pressure.

Several options for this are available:

  • Temporary diversion in the form of an external ventricular drain which is connected to a collecting system at the bedside
  • Shunting procedures where a catheter in the ventricular of the brain is connected to a valve and a distal catheter, most commonly tunnelled and placed into the abdomen.
  • In certain circumstances this can also be placed in the chest cavity or in the venous system of the heart.

Temporary CSF drains can be used as a post-operative technique to monitor or treat raised intracranial pressure or to allow healing of a repair/patch to occur at the operative site.