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Shunt Malfunction Signs

What Are Signs of Shunt Malfunction?

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.
  • 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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For more information about the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery, contact us.

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