Cerebrospinal fluid shunts for the treatment of hydrocephalus fail at a rate of 40% within the first year. The importance of this problem is supported by one institution’s analysis of neurosurgical 30-day readmissions with CSF shunt failure only second to brain tumor readmissions. Hospital shunt related costs have been estimated at $1.4 to $2 billion annually. The majority of these costs are attributable to shunt failures based on the number of revisions out of the total numbers of annual shunt procedures.
The technical innovation of this project is a low cost, low risk and easy to implement CSF shunt design change compatible with current protocols. The proposed product is an innovative distal catheter to minimize the need for revision surgery due to obstruction (also referred to as occlusion). This is accomplished with a dual lumen catheter (current distal catheters are single lumen) consisting of a primary lumen and a secondary lumen providing redundant functionality in the event ofprimary lumen occlusion thereby eliminating the need for surgical shunt revision.
40% of shunts fail within the year after implant and distal catheter obstruction accounts for up to 24% of failures. Though less prevalent than proximal catheter occlusion, incidence of distal catheter occlusion is significant and improved reliability would reduce costs and improve patient outcomes by lowering the number of revisions.