What you should and shouldn’t look for in VP shunt malfunctions
As parents, unknown medical conditions have begun to come out of the woodwork. We must prepare ourselves for these situations. The more you know, the better off you will be in the long run.
Are you a parent who has a child that has a VP shunt? The VP shunt is designed to keep fluid from building up in the brain cavity. Too much fluid is a dangerous combination and can cause a great deal of pressure on the brain and mild to severe damage.
Signs of a malfunction –
The signs are usually the same for all ages. Infants are the hardest to identify. Why? They cannot relate to us except for fussiness and crying. These two signs can mean anything. They could be hungry, tired or wet. As a parent, it is best to pay close attention to each sign. It could mean a malfunction of the shunt.
Sleepiness. Too much sleep, or if they cannot stay awake, is something to be concerned about.
Redness near or around the shunt tract. This sign isn’t related to any other symptom that I am aware of. If this occurs, something is seriously going on with the shunt.
Irritable. Irritability can mean just about anything. The person can be irritated with the world or something going on with their life.
Fever. A fever that cannot be broken or is higher than normal is a sign, or it could be a virus going around.
Vomiting. Vomiting doesn’t necessary mean a malfunction. A stomach bug could be going around.
Every sign could be an indication of another illness. If the symptoms appear to be abnormal or more frequent, it could be a malfunction. You can never be too sure. As parents, it is our responsibility to make sure our children and loved ones’ well-being is our number one priority.
A tip that many fail to understand is that the signs of a malfunction may be the same for a toddler or an adult. People with a VP shunt need to be monitored closely, especially when a sign of a possible malfunction may be occurring. They may even have more than one symptom at a time.
My son, who is 3 years old, had a VP shunt surgery when he was 7 weeks old. Since he has had his, he has never had a malfunction. Knock on wood. He was born with Hydrocephalus and required a VP shunt to drain the extra fluid from his brain. As he gets older, it is much easier to tell a sign of a malfunction than from another illness.
With a shunt, you have to be extra careful to keep a close eye for any malfunction. If you think you may be experiencing one, go to the emergency room. Do not wait. It is best to be safe than sorry.