Magnetic resonance-based estimation of intracranial pressure correlates with ventriculoperitoneal shunt valve opening pressure setting in children with hydrocephalus

Muehlmann M, Koerte IK, Laubender RP, Steffinger D, Lehner M, Peraud A, Heinen F, Kiefer M, Reiser M, Ertl-Wagner B

Invest Radiol 2013 Jul;48(7):543-7

PMID: 23695081


OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between the pressure setting of the ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt valve and a magnetic resonance (MR)-based estimate of intracranial pressure (ICP) in children with shunt-treated hydrocephalus without clinical signs of shunt malfunction.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Institutional review board approval was obtained before the study, and all subjects and/or their legal guardians provided written informed consent. In this prospective study, 15 consecutive patients (median age, 8.25 years; range, 2.2-18.4 years; 6 girls and 9 boys) with shunt-treated hydrocephalus without signs of shunt malfunction were examined with retrospectively gated phase contrast sequences to quantify arterial inflow, venous outflow, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flow to and from the cranial vault. The ratio of the maximal intracranial volume change and the pulse pressure gradient change was used to derive MR-ICP. Spearman ρ was used to test for the association of setting of the shunt valve opening pressure and MR-ICP.

RESULTS: Shunt valve opening pressure settings and MR-ICP were positively correlated (Spearman ρ = 0.64, P < 0.01). Median MR-ICP was 8.67 mm Hg (interquartile range [IQR], 1.59 mm Hg) and median setting of the VP-shunt valve was 6.62 mm Hg (IQR, 1.47 mm Hg). The median MR-ICP was 1.9 mm Hg (IQR, 0.73 mm Hg) higher than the setting of the shunt valve.

CONCLUSION: There is a positive correlation between MR-ICP and VP shunt valve opening pressure setting. The systematically higher assessment of MR-ICP is most likely a result of outflow resistance within the shunt tubing system and well within the known fluctuation rates of VP shunt systems.