A 14-year-old boy with a history of shunted congenital hydrocephalus began having headaches with nausea and vomiting after transcontinental flights. He gradually developed horizontal diplopia indicative of mild bilateral sixth nerve palsy, without papilledema or ventriculomegaly. Intracranial pressure monitoring showed no signs of elevation. After he subsequently developed papilledema, surgical exploration showed shunt malfunction, and shunt replacement produced rapid resolution of symptoms. This case demonstrates the importance of relying on clinical history and neuro-ophthalmologic examination in patients with hydrocephalus and suspected shunt failure, even when objective confirmatory evidence of intracranial pressure elevation is lacking.
- intracranial pressure
- ventriculoperitoneal shunt failure
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