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Old 03-12-2008, 03:01 AM
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My child has myelomelingocele spina bifida and is now almost twelve years old. He has a VP shunt to manage his hydrocephalus and he gets sick from time to time but usually we attribute this to getting colds and flu- but today he missed school because he had a headache all day and he says he wasnt able to keep down much food....

Here I am on the web getting a review of spina bifida and hydrocephalus symptoms and wondering..how do you know when his headaches are shunt related and not cold or flu? When do shunts need to be changed anyways?

When is it obvious that we need to rush him to the hospital? And what can a regular hospital do if a shunt is giving troubles? The closest neurosurgeon is Puerto Rico I think.

He has gained so much weight over the past couple years and has started puberty way before the other boys did. Whats going on? Should we prepare for a short life span?

I don't know why I am even thinking these things. I've never been worried before.

I hope someone comes online and can give some insight. I really need some answers.


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Old 03-14-2008, 03:47 PM
yeayea yeayea is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 6
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Though I have been very blessed in that my daughter (touch wood) has not had any problems with her shunt, I too also worry when she says she has a headache.* I can't give you specifics right now, but I know for sure that if you look up symptoms of shunt malfunction (?), you are sure to find a list of symptoms to look for.* I have done this before.

I'm not a professional, i.e. doctor/nurse, so I certainly wouldn't want to give you any advice that may be misleading.* However, I am a parent and I always listen to or follow my instincts.* If *you* feel your child needs to be seen by a doctor, then that is what you should do.* "Better safe than sorry".

I truly hope you find the answers you need.* It is not easy and can be very frustrating.

Take care.

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Old 04-03-2008, 06:38 PM
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Hello, If your child is showing more than one of these symptoms of shunt failure and it is recommended that medical attention be sought as soon as possible: fever, vomiting, headache, lethargy, irritability, seizures , vision problems, loss of coordination, decline in school/work performance. The*shunt may be obstructed/blocked and surgical intervention may be required. Precocious puberty in children who have spina bifida and hydrocephalus is very common.* Males with spina bifida reach puberty about 1 year before other children their age. If boys show significant body development before age nine, it is considered precocious.* Early puberty may be due to damage to the pituitary and hypothalamus glands by hydrocephalus, which in turn can interfere with the biological clock.*This affects 90% of people with spina bifida. Most children who start puberty too early will be shorter than they otherwise would have been because bones stop growing earlier than they would have.* Boys may become more aggressive and hyperactive than their peers. It is recommended that children with precocious puberty be evaluated by a physician or*nurse clinician*who is knowledgeable about these issues.* Usually a referral to an endocrinologist (person who specializes in hormones) is made.* If no other problems are found, the most commonly used treatment to delay the onset of puberty is to begin injections of a medicine that interferes with the hormonal system.*Over the last 10 years with the advancement of technology and treatment for individuals with spina bifida and hydrocephalus, many are living longer*lives with a better quality of life.
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Old 04-09-2008, 05:48 PM
Wheels Wheels is offline
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I am not sure if this may be of help as well, but there is a a malformation that is very common to people with Spina Bifida, that you might want to check into - its called Arnold Chiari Malformation - I am 40 and was told last year I have it, but when looking into it, I found its very common in children with SB.* There is quite a bit of information online about the malformation.* Headaches are one of the first symptoms, and swallowing is another, it is only possible that this is it, but its worth lookiing into as well.

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