Fungal infection of ventriculoperitoneal shunts in children

Clin Infect Dis. 1994 Dec;19(6):1049-53. doi: 10.1093/clinids/19.6.1049.


Infection is still the most common complication of shunt procedures in children. However, fungal infection is still considered to be rare. We found that fungi accounted for 17% of shunt infections (8 of 48) in a retrospective study. All of the patients were premature babies and had received a ventriculoperitoneal shunt because of hydrocephalus. The clinical manifestations were subtle and insidious. The time of onset of infection ranged from 1 month to 1 year after the insertion of the shunt. Examination of the cerebrospinal fluid of infected patients showed mild pleocytosis with an elevated protein concentration. Candida species (including Candida albicans, Candida parapsilosis, and Candida tropicalis) or Torulopsis glabrata were isolated. In all but one case, shunts were removed and systemic therapy with amphotericin B was administered. Amphotericin B was given intrathecally to two patients, who did not respond to systemic therapy. Treatment with fluconazole failed for one patient. We suggest performing fungal cultures in cases of shunt infection, especially those involving premature infants. Extraventricular drainage, systemic therapy with amphotericin B, and insertion of a new shunt remain the principal components of the treatment regimen for fungal shunt infections in children.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Amphotericin B / administration & dosage
  • Amphotericin B / therapeutic use
  • Candidiasis / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Candidiasis / drug therapy
  • Candidiasis / etiology*
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / drug therapy
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / microbiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocephalus / surgery
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Injections, Spinal
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt / adverse effects*


  • Amphotericin B