Outcomes and Experience with Lumbopleural Shunts in the Management of Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension

Benjamin D. Elder, Eric W. Sankey, C. Rory Goodwin, Ignacio Jusué-Torres, Mohamed H. Khattab, Daniele Rigamonti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objective To report five patients who underwent lumbopleural (LPl) shunting for the treatment of idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) and to describe the considerations, complications, and outcomes related to this rarely described procedure. Methods The clinical data of five patients treated with LPl shunting over a 23-year period were retrospectively analyzed. Factors including the age at diagnosis of IIH, age at time of LPl shunting, body mass index (BMI), reason for LPl shunt placement, number of revisions before LPl shunt placement, valve type, time to first revision, presence of overdrainage and its management, complications and their management, survival time of LPl shunt, and clinical course at last follow-up were analyzed. Results All patients were morbidly obese females with an average of 4.6 shunt revisions before an LPl shunt. The average overall survival time of the LPl shunt was 48 months. Two patients experienced failure of their LPl shunts with subsequent replacement within the first year. Four patients experienced complications related to shunt overdrainage, requiring placement of an antisiphon device (ASD) or additional valve. One patient developed a symptomatic pleural effusion, and one patient developed a small pneumothorax, which was managed conservatively. Conclusions LPl shunting, though rarely used, is a viable option in the treatment of IIH refractory to standard peritoneal shunting. When pursuing this treatment, a valve and ASD are recommended to mitigate the risks of overdrainage and pleural effusion. Chest imaging should be obtained if the patient becomes symptomatic but can be deferred if the patient remains asymptomatic and is doing well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)314-319
Number of pages6
JournalWorld neurosurgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015


  • Hydrocephalus
  • Idiopathic intracranial hypertension
  • Lumbopleural shunt
  • Pseudotumor cerebri

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Outcomes and Experience with Lumbopleural Shunts in the Management of Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this