Perioperative Management for Rectal Migration of a Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt

Ochsner J. 2020 Summer;20(2):239-241. doi: 10.31486/toj.18.0169.


Background: While ventriculoperitoneal shunt (VPS) is the most commonly performed surgical procedure for treating hydrocephalus, complications following shunt placement are associated with a high mortality rate. Preoperative medical optimization and surgery are the primary means of correcting shunt migration. We present the case of an 11-week-old patient who underwent emergent surgical intervention for transrectal VPS migration and associated infection. Case Report: An 11-week-old female presented with VPS tubing protruding from her rectum. The patient had a history of grade III intraventricular hemorrhage complicated by hydrocephalus status post VPS placement at age 3 weeks. Shunt tap demonstrated gross infection, and she was started prophylactically on broad-spectrum antibiotics. She was taken emergently to the operating room (OR) for VPS externalization and exploratory minilaparotomy. VPS tubing was removed, and the patient was transferred to the pediatric intensive care unit for postoperative management. Cultures confirmed methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, and the patient was treated according to infectious disease recommendations. On postoperative day (POD) 5, the patient had a full component VPS replacement. On POD 23, computed tomography scan of the head obtained for lethargy demonstrated a new midline shift, and she was returned to the OR for another VPS replacement. A small abscess was discovered and drained; postoperative cerebrospinal fluid laboratory values normalized after drainage. Once the infectious process cleared, the VPS was internalized on POD 33, and the patient was discharged home on POD 35. Conclusion: Few case reports detail the appropriate anesthetic considerations for cases of VPS migration. This report describes shunt migration pathophysiology and patient assessment with a focus on anesthetic preparation and management for this rare complication.

Keywords: Anesthesia; hydrocephalus; pediatrics; surgery; ventriculoperitoneal shunt.

Publication types

  • Case Reports