We describe five patients with glomerulonephritis (GN) associated with cerebrospinal fluid shunt insertion to relieve hydrocephalus. A ventriculo-atrial (V-A) shunt had been placed on average 12.5 years prior to the diagnosis of nephritis (range 0.5-21 years). Four patients developed membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis (MPGN) with associated hypocomplementaemia. A single patient developed focal proliferative glomerulonephritis. Coagulase-negative staphylococci were cultured in four patients, either from blood or from the shunt. Four patients had their shunts removed, two of whom also received antibiotics. The other patient received antibiotics alone for infective endocarditis due to staphylococcal bacteraemia which originated in the shunt. All patients had substantial renal impairment at the time of diagnosis (GFR, glomerular filtration rate, 20-45 ml/min). There was significant improvement in renal function after appropriate treatment; four of the five patients doubled their GFRs and two patients regained normal function.