Headache and Shunt-Related Impact on Activities of Daily Life in Patients Growing Up with a Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt

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Ventriculoperitoneal shunts (VPS) are a mainstay of treatment for hydrocephalus. Morbidity related to infection and dysfunction is well known, whereas data on psychosocial outcome and quality of life are scarce. Our aim was to assess headache burden and shunt-related impact on daily life in children growing up with a VPS.


Patients between 3 and 21 years of age were identified and their families were contacted. A set of standardized questionnaires was used to assess headache and quality of life.


Fifteen patients with a mean age of 12 years agreed to participate in this study. Satisfaction with the VPS and improvement of the patient's condition was reported by 87%. A total of 67% denied negative impact on everyday life, reported a headache less than once a month, and never or rarely miss school. However, 53% take precautions before special activities.


The results demonstrate that modern VPS systems are tolerated very well and do not per se reduce quality of life. However, patients adapt to the presence of a VPS by avoiding risks and taking precautions. Chronic headache is not a major problem and not necessarily attributed to the VPS. Nevertheless, most patients asked for technical improvements, which might guide future research and the technical development of VPS.

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