Ventricular-atrial shunt

Draining fluid on the brain

Ventricular-atrial shunt involves draining fluid on the brain into the blood vessels travelling to the heart

About

Hydrocephalus is a term used to describe a build-up of fluid on the brain. If the fluid isn't treated, it places pressure on the brain. This can lead to brain damage and — in some cases — death. At HCA UK, our neurosurgeons can carry out a ventricular-atrial shunt to drain and divert the fluid.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    A ventricular-atrial shunt is a small device designed to relieve pressure on the brain caused by a build-up of fluid on the brain. Your neurosurgeon will begin the procedure by making a small hole in the skull, before placing the shunt (thin tube) in your brain. The shunt will be joined to a one-way valve and then attached to another tube that travels down under the skin to the blood vessels travelling into the heart. This will allow the fluid on your brain to drain directly into the blood stream, where it can reabsorb into your body naturally. A ventricular-atrial shunt is performed under general anaesthetic, which means you'll be asleep. 
  • How to prepare icon plus

    Your neurosurgeon will take the time to explain your ventricular-atrial shunt procedure to you and answer any questions you might have. As you'll be having general anaesthetic, they'll let you know how long you should avoid eating and drinking before surgery. You may also be asked to attend a nurse-led pre-assessment clinic, where you'll be filled in on any possible risks and side effects.
  • Afterwards icon plus

    After your ventricular-atrial shunt, you'll be transferred to our recovery ward where you’ll be looked after by a specialist team. Your neurosurgeon will explain your recovery time to you and when you can expect to get back to your usual routine.

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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