What we should know about the cellular and tissue response causing catheter obstruction in the treatment of hydrocephalus

Neurosurgery. 2012 Jun;70(6):1589-601; discussion 1601-2. doi: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e318244695f.


The treatment of hydrocephalus by cerebrospinal fluid shunting is plagued by ventricular catheter obstruction. Shunts can become obstructed by cells originating from tissue normal to the brain or by pathological cells in the cerebrospinal fluid for a variety of reasons. In this review, the authors examine ventricular catheter obstruction and identify some of the modifications to the ventricular catheter that may alter the mechanical and chemical cues involved in obstruction, including alterations to the surgical strategy, modifications to the chemical surface of the catheter, and changes to the catheter architecture. It is likely a combination of catheter modifications that will improve the treatment of hydrocephalus by prolonging the life of ventricular catheters to improve patient outcome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Catheters, Indwelling*
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Shunts / instrumentation*
  • Equipment Failure*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocephalus / surgery*
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology*