VP Shunt (Child)
Your child has been given a VP (ventriculoperitoneal) shunt. This is used to treat excess fluid production within the brain (hydrocephalus). This excess fluid causes pressure on the brain. In a growing child, the excess pressure inside the skull will cause the head to enlarge. The shunt lets the excess fluid overflow through the shunt tubing into the abdominal cavity (or another site) where the body can absorb it.
A valve is attached to the tubing that lets fluid flow only in one direction—away from the brain. You can feel the valve below the scalp, usually behind the ear. There are different types of valves. The healthcare provider can explain if your child's valve is working properly.
If there was concern today about the function of the shunt, check the valve daily for the next 3 days and report any concerns to your child's healthcare provider. Once you know it is working well, you don't need to check the valve again unless told to do so by your healthcare provider.
Follow up with your child's healthcare provider, or as advised.
When to seek medical advice
Call your child's healthcare provider if any of the following occur:
Fever of 100.4ºF (38ºC) or higher, or as directed by your child's healthcare provider
Unusual drowsiness or confusion
Belly pain that does not go away
Poor appetite that does not improve
Sudden changes in behavior
Redness, swelling, bleeding, or discharge from the area where shunt valve was placed
© 2000-2021 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.