Many things can go wrong with shunt placement or revision surgery. The most serious complication and the most frequent complication is shunt infection.
The longer the shunt placement procedure lasts, the greater the exposure for shunt infection. Bacteria can enter the body through one of the incisions. Shunt infection can also occur through the placement of an incorrectly sterilized catheter or valve. Cysts may form. The body may not know it's infected for one or two months until shunt infection symptoms appear.
Shunt infection symptoms include:
- Persistent low grade fever usually greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit or a high grade fever 102-104 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Irritability, personality changes
- Variations in cognitive ability
- Redness along the shunt tract
- Swelling or tenderness of the abdomen with a VP shunt
- Persistent nausea and vomiting
- Sore neck and/or shoulder muscles
Shunt infection treatment requires hospitalization, patience, and a skilled hospital staff. The patient will receive high doses of infection-fighting intravenous antibiotics. The entire shunt system is removed to prevent any possibility of reintroducing the infection to the body. It is a complex surgery requiring drainage and monitoring of fluids. The patient will continually be monitored for infection and fighting infection which could last as long as two weeks.
Many risks present themselves along the way.
If your loved one has suffered a shunt infection problem, you may qualify for a shunt infection lawsuit. This would be considered medical malpractice. Contact Anapol Schwartz to determine what your legal options are.