Shunt Malfunction Signs

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center provides the following warning signs of shunt malfunction. shunt-malfunction

  • Headaches 
  • Vomiting  
  • Lethargy (sleepiness)  
  • Irritability  
  • Swelling or redness along the shunt tract  
  • Decreased school performance  
  • Periods of confusion  
  • Seizures 
  • If your child becomes very ill (persistent vomiting, extreme sleepiness, severe headache), seek medical assistance immediately.
  • Call your child’s doctor if you think that your child is having a shunt malfunction based on the symptoms described above.
  • Remember that you may see only one or two warning signs at a time. You will not see all of the signs at one time. Call your child's doctor if you notice one or more of these signs in your child.
  • Call your doctor if vomiting and lethargy occur without fever or diarrhea. You may be instructed to first be seen by your primary medical doctor to assess for another illness.
  • DO NOT PUSH ON OR PUT PRESSURE ON THE SHUNT.
  • You may be sent for a head CT before seeing a member of the neurosurgery team.

Last Updated 06/2012