Shunt implantations and peritoneal catheters: Do not cut beyond 20 cm

Ventriculoperitoneal shunts are supplied with long peritoneal catheters, most commonly between 80 and 120 cm long. ISO/DIS 7197/2006([15]) shunt manufacturing procedures include peritoneal catheter as an integrate of the total resistance. Cutting pieces of peritoneal catheters upon shunt implantation or revision is a common procedure.


We evaluated five shunts assembled with different total pressure resistances and variable peritoneal catheter lengths in order to clarify the changes that occurred in the hydrodynamic profile when peritoneal catheters were cut upon shunt implantation or shunt revision.


Originally, all shunts performed within the operational range. Shunt 1 performed in a lower pressure range at 200 mm cut off peritoneal catheter and as a low-pressure shunt with -300 mm cut off. Shunt 2 was manufactured to run at the higher border pressure range, and it went out of specification with a 300 mm cut off. Shunt 3 was manufactured to run close to the lower border pressure range, and at 100 mm cutoff, it was already borderline in a lower resistive category. Other shunts also responded similarly.


The limit to maintain a shunt in its original pressure settings was 20 cm peritoneal catheter cutting length. By cutting longer pieces of peritoneal catheter, one would submit patients to a less-resistive regimen than intended and his reasoning will be compromised. The pediatric population is more prone to suffer from the consequences of cutting catheters. Shunt manufacturers should consider adopting peritoneal catheters according to the age (height) of the patient.
Maset AL, Suriano LC, Monteiro R, Pinto JR, de Andrade JR, Mancini BM, Ramin SL, Moraes DF, Cavalheiro S. Shunt implantations and peritoneal catheters: Do not cut beyond 20 cm. Surg Neurol Int. 2014 Aug 22;5:130. doi: 10.4103/2152-7806.139410. eCollection 2014. PubMed PMID: 25250184.

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