A shunt is inserted in an operation under general anaesthetic underneath the skin from the ventricles, to either the abdominal cavity or the heart to release pressure on the brain.  This operation is carried out by a Paediatric Neurosurgeon.



Shunts usually work well but sometimes they get blocked.  Your Neurosurgeon will advise you what to look for as your child’s shunt will need to be replaced quickly.

Symptoms of a malfunctioning shunt are:

  •     Headache
  •     Vomiting
  •     Fever
  •     Irritability and personality changes
  •     Deterioration in performance – school work, gait, balance, and concentration
  •     Lethargy and drowsiness
  •     Dizziness and in more severe cases
    • Vision disturbances
    • Seizures


As your child grows, the shunt tubing may also need to be lengthened.