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Definition of Terms
Hydrocephalus is a condition characterised by excessive accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) within the ventricular system of the brain causing increased pressure within the skull. Hydrocephalus can be present at birth (congenital) or occur as a result of injury (acquired).
The most common cause of hydrocephalus is post-haemorrhagic hydrocephalus which may result in poor outcomes including cognitive defects, disability and mortality. A ventricular shunt is often required to decompress the ventricular system to alleviate symptoms of raised intracranial pressure. The procedure involves the surgical placement of a catheter into one of the lateral ventricles which is connected to a reservoir implanted under the scalp. The reservoir can then tapped and controlled serial aspiration of CSF attended whilst the need for a more permanent ventriculoperitoneal shunt is evaluated.
Parents should be informed and consented, prepare the patient ensuring that they have been advised of the benefits and potential complications associated with the ventricular reservoir tap:
Using Surgical aseptic technique (see Aseptic technique policy and procedures (RCH access only))
To be performed by Doctors/NNP’s only
The neurosurgeons may leave a butterfly needle insitu with
the line end and three way tap secured in an Integratm Stopcock
Protection Box. To perform a tap prepared as above:
evidence table for this guideline is found here.
Please remember to read the
development of this nursing guideline was coordinated by Sally Jeston, NP, Butterfly,
and approved by the Nursing Clinical Effectiveness Committee. Updated November 2020.