Antimigraine treatment for slit ventricle syndrome

Neurosurgery. 1990 Nov;27(5):760-3; discussion 763. doi: 10.1097/00006123-199011000-00014.


Slit ventricle syndrome is characterized by chronic or recurring headaches associated with subnormal ventricular volume in patients who have undergone shunt treatment for hydrocephalus. There appear to be at least three pathophysiological mechanisms that cause this syndrome: 1) intermittent shunt malfunction; 2) intracranial hypotension; and 3) paroxysms of increased intracranial pressure in the presence of normal shunt function. To treat seven patients with slit ventricle syndrome caused by paroxysms of elevated intracranial pressure, we successfully used antimigraine therapy rather than standard calvarial expansion procedures. None of these patients has required shunt revision or calvarial expansion during a mean follow-up period of 2 years. The symptoms of slit ventricle syndrome may be a form of "acquired" migraine in shunt patients. We suggest that, in clinically stable patients with normal shunt function, treatment against migraine may stabilize symptoms resulting from paroxysms of increased intracranial pressure. Such treatment may prevent unnecessary shunt revisions and/or calvarial expansion procedures.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cerebral Ventricles* / pathology
  • Cerebral Ventriculography
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Shunts / adverse effects*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cyproheptadine / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocephalus / surgery
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Migraine Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Migraine Disorders / etiology
  • Propranolol / therapeutic use
  • Pseudotumor Cerebri / drug therapy*
  • Pseudotumor Cerebri / etiology
  • Syndrome
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Cyproheptadine
  • Propranolol