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Diagnosis of valve dysfunction in the paediatric age: the predictive value of the clinical signs and symptoms
INTRODUCTION. Cerebrospinal fluid shunt valves are the preferred treatment in many cases of childhood hydrocephalus. Cerebrospinal fluid shunt valve dysfunctions usually present in an unspecific manner, which delays their diagnosis and, consequently, can increase the morbidity and mortality rates in these patients.
AIM. To determine the signs and symptoms that are most suggestive of valve dysfunction in the childhood population.
PATIENTS AND METHODS. We conducted a retrospective study of the reports of patients who visited the emergency department of a tertiary care paediatric hospital with a clinical picture that suggested valve dysfunction. In each case the clinical manifestations were determined, and also whether there had been a diagnosis of valve dysfunction or not. A univariate analysis and later a logistic regression study were performed.
RESULTS. In all, 183 visits were included. Valve dysfunction was confirmed in 28.5% of them. The most frequent complication was obstruction of the proximal drainage catheter. The univariate analysis showed a significant relation between the presence of irritability, sleepiness, abdominal pain, paresis of the cranial nerves and increased perimeter of the skull, and the existence of valve dysfunction. The logistic regression analysis revealed that sleepiness, irritability and abdominal pain could predict valve dysfunction.