Can I live a normal life with a shunt?
Most of hydrocephalic patients will be required to keep their CSF shunt all life long. One of the advantages of this therapy is that it allows you to have a normal daily life. The shunt will restore the CSF circulation to regulate its flow.
Your surveillance will be pursued over a long period of time. Both, you and your family will be required to participate actively in this surveillance.
Post-operative precautions need to be taken and regular medical consultations are recommended in order to detect possible complications.
Can I practice sport with a CSF shunt?
Yes, of course, you can practice sport. However, you should avoid all activities exposing the device to shocks (violent sports, etc.) likely to damage valve mechanism and to cause dysadjustments of the pressure setting. In case of shock, you should always have the pressure setting of your valve checked by a neurosurgeon.
Can I be pregnant with a shunt?
Pregnancy is not contraindicated if you have a shunt. However, it is necessary to discuss this project with your neurosurgeon.
Can I travel with a CSF shunt?
Yes, you can travel with a shunt.
The magnetic fields generated by airport security doors should not affect the pressure setting of your valve.
However, it is important to keep your Patient Identification Card with you at all times. This Patient Identification Card is provided by your neurosurgeon after your shunt surgery
What are the precautions of a treatment with an adjustable valve?
Adjustable valves are insensitive to the influence of everyday magnetic fields. Thus, magnetic fields generated by airport security doors, microwave ovens, mobile phones, high tension wire and TV amongst others should not affect the pressure setting.
The permanent magnets (domestics, in smartphones, in toys, in tablets, in audio head phones and in loud speakers amongst others) and electromagnetic fields created by electric motor (from shaver, hair dryer, clipper) while turned on, can modify the pressure setting. Thus, in order to prevent any risk of pressure alteration, they must not be brought close to the valve site (within less than 3 cm from the valve).
Exposure to a strong magnetic or electromagnetic field can alter the pressure setting.
Do I have to own any particular document?
The answer is Yes. You have to keep your Patient Identification Card (PIC) with you.
You should carry with you at all times the Patient Identification Card, which has been given to you by the neurosurgeon during your stay at the hospital. It provides information concerning the implanted device (reference, pressure setting …) which is important and necessary for your medical follow-up.
When should I consult my physician?
If you experience a headache, vomiting, visual or hearing disorders, sleepiness, walking difficulties or psychomotor wane, if you have a prolonged, unexplained fever, redness, oedema or a skin anomaly along the course of the shunt, contact your surgeon.
Even if the risk of shunt complication is low, you and your family need to know that certain complications may arise after the operation.
The main complications of shunts are obstruction, infection and overdrainage. These complications require prompt attention by the patient's physician.
Can I undergo an MRI examination with a valve?
A patient fitted with a fixed pressure valve may undergo an MRI examination without danger or special surveillance.
A patient fitted with an adjustable pressure valve need special surveillance during MRI. The pressure settings of the valve must be checked routinely before and after exposure to MRI or a powerful magnetic field.
A patient fitted with an adjustable pressure valve which is MRI-stable do not need a special surveillance during MRI. These valves are designed to prevent accidental changes in adjustment in standard conditions of 3-Tesla MRI examinations, as long as the patient remains immobile in the immediate proximity and inside the MRI tunnel. If there is a rotational movement on the valve simultaneous with exposure to a powerful magnetic field (e.g. 3-Tesla MRI) there is a possible risk of an accidental pressure change.