Avatar universal

Could my VP shunt be malfunctioning?

I'm a 31 y/o female and have had pseudotumor cerebri for the last 7 years. In April of 2008 I had a vp shunt put in. In July I had to have the setting changed because I was getting headaches again. Everything was fine until about 3 weeks ago. Heres the problem adn the question: When I lift my head up such as looking at the ceiling or getting something off of a shelf, I get an extremely painful headache. And when I look down, such as tying my shoe, I get the same kind of headache. And it can take hours for it to clear up and nothing I take will help the pain. My head is fine when I look straight ahead. But as soon as I look up or down, it feels like its gonna explode.

I've been to the ER about it and they basically said its all in my head. That everything is fine. But something obviously isnt. Due to not having health insurance anymore, I cannot go to my neurosurgeon to get his opinion. But I would like to know if anyone thinks this could be a sign that something with the shunt is not working right? Thanks.
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Avatar universal
Sorry, not much knowledge about shunts. But I would like to suggest you call a local clinic, especially if connected with a hospital that does indigent care. Services are generally prorated. Also, these hospitals have funds that will when eligible will cover expenses. But it may help to call your neurosurgeon and tell them your symptoms and that you have no insurance and ask their advice. You just never know how that may work out. If they can't see you, ask if they will give you a referral to a neurologist of their preference at one of those clinic type facilities. That would get you in quicker and maybe even more attention. It concerns me that an ER would tell you it's all in your head. I just hope they did due diligence and ran appropriate tests before dismissing your concerns. You've been dealing with this for a long time and know what is normal for you. Your situation is so specific you really should be under a physician's care, even if it's not your prior physician. Best wishes.
Helpful - 0
351246 tn?1379682132
Thanks for writing to the forum!
Headache is often the presenting symptom of shunt malfunction. Hence this cannot be ignored. The other reason could be postural hypotension—please get your blood pressure examined while sitting, standing and lying down. The third possibility is internal ear problem. However, since you have a VP shunt that should be the first priority.
Hope this helps. It is difficult to comment beyond this at this stage. Please let me know if there is any thing else and do keep me posted. Take care!
Helpful - 0
698988 tn?1254327429

I am going to get a shunt soon and not sure if it will be an LP or VP but have been studying both.  Many shunts especially VP come with devices that regulate pressure/flow differently based on horizontal vs vertical body position.  Do you know anything about the hardware you have in you?  As an engineer it sounds possible if you have that type of device it might not be working right when you are looking up or down and somehow it is changing your pressure range when it shouldn't be.

Just something to think about and maybe dig into.  Good luck.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Thats what I am thinking. I have a medtronic programmable one where they can change the settings from outside my head with a magnet. I am wondering when I change the position of my head.. the fluid is leaving too quickly and therefore causing me a great big headache. But I am also considering the possibility of postual hypotension. If I didnt have the shunt then that would be my first guess, but since I have one.. Im more concerned that it is the cause of my current problem. Until I can get someone to take pity on me and listen, I will get it checked out. No one knows whats going on inside my head but me and its very hard to get others to understand what is happening.
Helpful - 0
698988 tn?1254327429
What else do you know about your shunt hardware?  Medtronic is one of many and they make a few  different types.  Do you know any other details like if it has a dual valves, antisiphon valve, gravity valve etc?  The more you know about what is inside you the better you can research and find out if this might be a malfunction problem.  As for no insurance, you can still get copies of medical record without any insurance.  Maybe you can findout this info via your med records if your don't already have those.
Helpful - 0
863621 tn?1239139817
hi all. i just want to know how to take care of shunt. cos i had shunt in 1992 still is working good.but its so old now i am scare if in case block then what is the way to clean it. or if you can get onther shunt. ar what is the life of shunt.if anybody knows about please reply me. cos without that i can not see anymore..if in case my shunt does't work.if anybody know about sut send me information. thanks bye bye
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