Physical properties of cerebrospinal fluid of relevance to shunt function. 2: The effect of protein upon CSF surface tension and contact angle

Br J Neurosurg. 1995;9(5):645-51. doi: 10.1080/02688699550040936.


CSF surface tension has received little study, and yet it will effect the pressure at which shunt valves operate, and by influencing the degree of hydrophobicity (contact angle) will alter the attraction between bacteria and neurosurgical prostheses. A study is therefore presented of the effect of protein content upon the surface tension of CSF and its contact angle to silicone rubber. Both of these quantities fell throughout the normal range of CSF protein, but above 1 g/l, additional protein had little effect, and the results obtained were similar to that reported for plasma. The effect of surface tension on the opening and closing pressures of hydrocephalus shunt valves and of contact angle in the adhesion of bacteria to neurosurgical implants is discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bacterial Adhesion*
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Pressure / physiology
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Proteins / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Shunts / instrumentation*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Equipment Failure
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocephalus / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Hydrocephalus / etiology
  • Hydrocephalus / surgery
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Silicone Elastomers
  • Surface Tension
  • Viscosity


  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Proteins
  • Silicone Elastomers