Ascites and abdominal pseudocysts following ventriculoperitoneal shunt surgery: Variations of the same theme

Rajeev Kariyattil, Paul Steinbok*, Ashutosh Singhal, D. Douglas Cochrane

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


Object. Ascites and abdominal pseudocysts are two complications that can occur following placement of a ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt. Although various factors have been implicated, the exact pathogenesis of the two conditions remains elusive. To the authors' knowledge, there are no studies in which these two obviously related conditions have been compared. Methods. The authors retrospectively reviewed the cases of children with abdominal complications caused by a VP shunt. There were 15 patients who developed a pseudocyst and five patients who developed ascites. The cases were analyzed to identify common and distinguishing factors that may help in identifying the mechanism involved. Abdominal symptoms were the mode of presentation for patients with ascites, whereas shunt malfunction was the mode of presentation in 60% of those with pseudocysts. Culture-proven infection, abdominal surgery, and the number of revisions seemed to be more common in cases with pseudocysts than in ascites. The fluid in ascites was found to be a transudate irrespective of the origin of hydrocephalus. Alternative drainage sites were required in the treatment of patients with ascites, and reimplantation in the peritoneum was possible in 66.7% of those with pseudocysts. In the long term, however, peritoneal reimplantation was possible in three of the five patients with ascites. Conclusions. Abdominal pseudocysts and ascites, after VP shunt treatment, are distinct conditions with different modes of presentation and findings during examination of fluid, and therefore they require different management strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-353
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery
Issue number5 SUPPL.
Publication statusPublished - May 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Abdominal complication
  • Pediatric neurosurgery
  • Pseudocyst
  • Shunt ascites
  • Ultrasonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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