An updated model of hydrocephalus in sheep to evaluate the performance of a device for ambulatory wireless monitoring of cerebral pressure through shunts

Neurochirurgie. 2022 Apr;68(3):300-308. doi: 10.1016/j.neuchi.2021.10.006. Epub 2021 Nov 10.


Background: Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) diversion by shunts is the most common surgical treatment for hydrocephalus. Though effective, shunts are associated with risk of dysfunction leading to multiple surgical revisions, affecting patient quality-of-life and incurring high healthcare costs. There is a need for ambulatory monitoring systems for life-long assessment of shunt status. The present study aimed to develop a preclinical model assessing the feasibility of our wireless device for continuous monitoring of cerebral pressure in shunts.

Methods: We first adapted a previous hydrocephalus model in sheep, which used an intracisternal kaolin injection. Seven animals were used to establish the model, and 1 sheep with naturally dilated ventricles was used as control. Hydrocephalus was confirmed by clinical examination and brain imaging before inserting the ventriculoperitoneal shunts and the monitoring device allowing continuous measurement of the pressure through the shunt for a few days in 3 sheep. An external ventricular drain was used as gold standard.

Results: Our results showed that a reduction in kaolin dose associated to postoperative management was crucial to reduce morbidity and mortality rates in the model. Ventriculomegaly was confirmed by imaging 4 days after injection of 75mg kaolin into the cisterna magna. For the implanted sheep, recordings revealed high sensitivity of our sensor in detecting fluctuations in cerebral pressure compared to conventional measurements.

Conclusions: This proof-of-concept study highlights the potential of this preclinical model for testing new shunt devices.

Keywords: Animal model; Intracranial hypertension; Kaolin; Monitoring device; Pressure sensor; Shunting.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / surgery
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Shunts / methods
  • Humans
  • Hydrocephalus* / complications
  • Kaolin*
  • Monitoring, Ambulatory
  • Sheep
  • Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt


  • Kaolin