Child's Nervous System

, Volume 35, Issue 9, pp 1547–1555 | Cite as

Shunt independence in paediatric hydrocephalus: our 16-year experience and review

  • Sara IglesiasEmail author
  • Bienvenido Ros
  • Guillermo Ibáñez
  • Andrea Delgado
  • Ángela Ros
  • Miguel Ángel Arráez
Original Article



Shunt independence remains a matter of debate for neurosurgeons, and little information on this subject is available in the literature. The aims of the study were to analyse the incidence of shunt removal in a series of paediatric patients and to describe our experience with attempts at shunt removal.


Thirty of 212 paediatric patients shunted between 2000 and 2016 at our institution were studied for shunt independence. Variables related to hydrocephalus aetiology, shunt complications, independence trial peculiarities and follow-up were recorded and a descriptive analysis of the data was performed.


Two patients (0.94%) refused to be included in a shunt independence trial and were analysed separately. In the other 28 patients, 29 shunt independence trials were performed, of which 19 (65.52%) were successful, giving a global rate of shunt independence of 8.96% (19/212) in our population. Secondary endoscopic third ventriculostomy was the most frequent type of independence trial and achieved the highest success rate (75%). Spontaneous independence was achieved in just 4/7 cases (57.14%). Planned removal of the shunt in overdrainage cases had a 50% success rate, with transient measures to control intracranial pressure frequently required.


Shunt independence trials should be considered for selected patients in a closely monitored setting. Secondary endoscopic third ventriculostomy at the time of shunt malfunction has the highest success rate whereas planned removal of the shunt in overdrainage is an invasive procedure with more likelihood of failure. Shunt independence should not be presumed.


Shunt outcome Secondary endoscopic third ventriculostomy Shunt removal Overdrainage 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Neurosurgery DepartmentHospital Regional Universitario de MálagaMálagaSpain

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