Complete Intestinal Obstruction and Necrosis as a Complication of a Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt in Children


Ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt complications are common, but abdominal complications are rare. The objective of this report is to present 2 cases of intestinal obstruction due to a VP shunt and review the literature for data on this rare occurrence.A 4-month-old boy received surgical resection of a medulloblastoma and a VP shunt was inserted to manage progressive hydrocephalus. Two months later, he was admitted with intermittent vomiting, and plain abdominal radiography showed complete intestinal obstruction. Emergency laparotomy revealed an adhesive intestinal obstruction around the catheter, and approximately 5 cm of necrotic ileum was resected. His recovery was uneventful. In the second case, a 6-year-old boy was diagnosed with a primary nongerminomatous malignant germ cell tumor and a VP shunt was place to treat hydrocephalus. Two weeks after the first course of chemotherapy, he went into a coma; computed tomography demonstrated enlargement of the tumor and gross total resection was performed. Two weeks later, he developed abdominal distention; plain radiography showed intestinal obstruction and laparotomy revealed adhesive intestinal obstruction around the catheter with 15 cm of necrotic ileum. The necrotic bowel was resected. Unfortunately, the patient developed sepsis and despite treatment remained in a vegetative state.Medline, Central, Embase, and Google Scholar databases were searched up to May 9, 2014, using the terms VP shunt, shunting, and/or intestinal obstruction. Only cases involving children or adolescents were included. Eleven reports involving patients with abdominal complications resulting from a VP shunt for hydrocephalus were identified. The dates of the reports spanned from 1971 to 2014. Volvulus was the most common cause of VP shunt-related obstruction, and mechanical obstruction due to twisting of the catheter the second most common. Only 1 case in the literature review was related to intestinal adhesions. Treatment in most cases was laparotomy.Although intestinal obstruction is a rare complication of a VP shunt, it should be considered in the presence of abdominal symptoms and prompt treatment provided to have a good outcome.

DOI: 10.1097/MD.0000000000001375

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@inproceedings{Zhao2015CompleteIO, title={Complete Intestinal Obstruction and Necrosis as a Complication of a Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt in Children}, author={Rui Zhao and Wei Shi and Jianzhong Yu and Xiaofeng Gao and Hao Li and Cecilia Rosca. Elena}, booktitle={Medicine}, year={2015} }