Shunt Malfunction Signs

Shunt malfunction.

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

  •  Headaches 
  •  Vomiting  
  •  Lethargy (sleepiness)  
  •  Irritability  
  •  Swelling or redness along the shunt tract  
  •  Decreased school performance  
  •  Periods of confusion  
  •  Seizures 

Shunt Malfunctions

  • 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.

Related Topics

Last Updated 06/2018

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The neurosurgery team at Cincinnati Children’s treats all types of neurologic disorders, including the most rare and complex.

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