What Is a Shunt? Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus
Shunts have been used to treat hydrocephalus for more than 50 years. The devices allow excess cerebrospinal fluid to drain to another area of the body.
A shunt usually consists of two catheters and a one-way valve. The valve regulates the amount, flow direction, and pressure of cerebrospinal fluid out of the brain’s ventricles.
As the pressure of cerebrospinal fluid inside the brain or spine increases, the one-way valve opens and the excessive fluid drains to the downstream cavity.
Typically, the fluid gets “shunted” (moved) using the following shunt types:
There are various types of shunt valves. The two most common are:
Both of these valve types can include over-drainage protection in the form of a siphon control device. The purpose of this device is to minimize excessive drainage due to gravity when a person is in the upright position.
Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.