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Quantishunt: Identifying Malfunction in Cerebroventricular Shunts

Team Members:
  • Daphne Schlesinger
  • Ryan Najmi
  • Vinay Ayyappan
  • Dante Navarro
  • Walter Zhao
  • Shayan Hemmati
  • Anneka Kleine
  • Helen Wiegand
  • Mark Luciano, MD, PhD
  • Amir Manbachi, PhD
  • George Coles, MSE
  • Joseph Katz, PhD
  • Susanna Thon, PhD


Hydrocephalus, a disease characterized by buildup of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) within the cerebral ventricles, is treated via the placement of a shunt that redirects fluid to an epithelium-rich region of the body. While shunts do alleviate chronic hydrocephalus symptoms, they frequently malfunction with potentially fatal consequences. Existing methods for detecting failure require an extensive workflow that may culminate in surgical intervention. Moreover, generic symptoms resulting from shunt malfunction cause many patients to incorrectly self-diagnose, leading to unnecessary treatment, risking complications and infection. A simpler, objective detection method is needed to prevent the occurrences of missed failures and false positives. Here, we characterize the mechanical behavior of cerebral shunts and report that valve drainage is linearly proportional to flow independent of shunt orientation. Additionally, we present the design and large-scale evaluation of a device employing a capacitive sensing method to monitor shunt status. Such a device would be able to track drainage in real-time, enabling quick and accurate identification of shunt status.

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