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What is a Shunt? April 1, 2013

Posted by mvarlan in Uncategorized.

NPH can often be treated successfully with a special implantable device called a shunt. This device drains excess Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) away from the brain to another part of the body, usually the abdominal cavity, where it can be absorbed.

There are a variety of shunt types with different capabilities but the most prevalent type used for NPH patients is one containing a programmable value. The valve is the component of the shunt which controls the speed with which the fluid is drained away from the brain. As we age our brains become more fragile and it is crucial that close attention is given to the speed of this flow. Draining too little may not improve the patient’s symptoms yet draining too fast could cause bleeding in the brain.

A shunt operation is not a cure and does not treat the underlying cause of NPH. It can, however, relieve the symptoms. The shunt remains in place indefinitely. If properly implanted, the shunt is seldom obvious to other people. The earlier the NPH is diagnosed, the better the chances that the surgery will help the patient. In general, people with milder symptoms have better outcomes after this surgery than those with more severe symptoms.

For more information about shunt please click on the link below to view our website.


Maggie Bobrowitz, RN, MBA
Neuroscience Program Coordinator
Barrow Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus Center



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