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The Ventriculo-Gallbladder Shunt in the Treatment of Refractory Hydrocephalus: A Review of the Current Literature

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The ventriculo-gallbladder (VGB) shunt has been reported on several occasions for the alleviation of ventriculo-peritoneal (VP) ‐shunt-refractory hydrocephalus. There is little data regarding VGB shunts and a need for delineating appropriate surgical therapy when cerebrospinal fluid drainage to the peritoneum becomes infeasible. We report our experience with VGB shunt placement in three patients with chronic hydrocephalus. All three had a history of prior VP-shunt placements and revisions due to distal obstruction or infection, or contraindications to alternative forms of ventricular drainage. In one patient, the VGB shunt functioned well for 9 years but was revised due to contamination during an unrelated operation. Neither of the other two patients have experienced VGB shunt-related complications. VP shunts are presently regarded as the standard of care for uncomplicated hydrocephalus. When VP shunts fail, the most common alternatives have been ventriculo-atrial and ventriculo-pleural shunts. In five case series involving 59 patients with VGB shunts, the long-term success rate was 62.7 per cent. Infection (10.2%) and obstruction (10.2%) were the most common complications. Based on durability and a low incidence of complications, it is the current consensus that VGB shunts are a viable alternative with good outcomes in the case of failed VP shunts.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: From the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia

Publication date: August 1, 2009

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