The Use of Quick-Brain Magnetic Resonance Imaging in the Evaluation of Shunt-Treated Hydrocephalus

J Neurosurg. 2004 Nov;101(2 Suppl):147-51. doi: 10.3171/ped.2004.101.2.0147.


Object: Children with shunt-treated hydrocephalus are exposed to serious amounts of radiation when undergoing computerized tomography (CT) scanning. The authors report their clinical experience with single-shot fast-spin echo (SSFSE) (quick-brain) magnetic resonance (MR) imaging as the modality of choice for the workup and follow up of patients in whom a shunt has been placed to treat hydrocephalus.

Methods: A retrospective chart review was performed to obtain data on all cases in which a quick-brain MR image was acquired for either symptomatic workup or asymptomatic follow-up examination of shunt-treated hydrocephalus. Data regarding demographics, origin of hydrocephalus, MR imaging indications and findings, use of sedation, imaging-related complications, use of adjunctive CT scanning, details of shunt revision, and cause of shunt malfunction were collected. The authors found that SSFSE MR imaging is a sufficient, radiation-free diagnostic alternative to CT scanning that minimizes movement artifact and duration of scanning and eliminates the need for sedation.

Conclusions: In light of these findings, the authors propose that quick-brain MR imaging replace CT scanning as the diagnostic modality of choice in examining and following shunt-treated patients because it offers significant advantages.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Shunts
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocephalus / diagnosis*
  • Hydrocephalus / surgery
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies