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Hydrocephalus, Shunt Malfunction and Medical Malpractice

What is hydrocephalus?

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Water on the brain is a common term frequently used to mean hydrocephalus. Fluid not water accumulates excessively on the brain. Technically, the fluid is called cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), a clear fluid which surrounds the brain and spinal cord.

When there is an excessive accumulation of fluid, the result is abnormal widening of spaces in the brain known as ventricles. This abnormal widening adds harmful pressure on brain tissues.

The Ventriculo-Peritoneal or VP shunt is small tubing that is placed inside the brainís ventricle and tunneled underneath the skin to the peritoneum which is a membrane that lines and protects the abdominal cavity and its contents. The purpose of the VP shunt is to reduce the amount of cerebral spinal fluid in the brain by draining it into the abdominal or peritoneal space.

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Shunt malfunction

Like most medical devices, shunts are not without malfunction problems. Mechanical failure, infections, obstructions, and the need to revise or replace the catheter are complications which may occur.

Some complications can lead to other problems such as over draining or under draining. Over draining happens when the shunt allows the cerebral spinal fluid to drain from the ventricles more quickly than fluid can be produced causing the ventricles to collapse, causing torn blood vessels, and triggering headaches, hemorrhaging, and slit ventricle syndrome.

Medical malpractice

Shunt systems require monitoring and regular medical follow up. Some patients fare well and some -- not. A patientís prognosis is further complicated by the presence of associated disorders, the timeliness of the right diagnosis, and the success of treatment. Misdiagnosis and shunt malfunction complications are two reasons to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

If your loved one has suffered shunt malfunctions, your family may be entitled to a VP shunt medical malpractice lawsuit. Talk to Monheit Law to find out what your legal options are.

Contact Monheit Law for your free, no-obligation consultation so we may evaluate the facts and determine how we can help you.

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