Abdominal pseudocyst: Predisposing factors and treatment algorithm

Lloyd W. Mobley, Stephen E. Doran, Leslie C. Hellbusch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Abdominal pseudocyst (APC) is an uncommon complication of ventriculoperitoneal shunts. Various predisposing factors have been attributed to it, including the presence of infection and multiple shunt revisions. We reviewed the records of shunt revisions performed over a 20-year period. During that time, 64 cases of APC were found in 36 patients. The records were then reviewed for the presence of infection, history of necrotizing enterocolitis, prior abdominal surgery, and treatment performed. Of the cases of APC, 46 were primary and 18 were recurrent. A history of prior abdominal surgery other than shunt revision was found in 47% of patients and a history of necrotizing enterocolitis was found in 19% of patients. The average number of prior shunt revisions was 4.1 per patient. Shunt infection as defined by positive cultures of either cerebrospinal fluid or abdominal fluid was present in only 23% of cases of APC. A history of prior shunt infection was present in 30% of patients. Infection was treated by shunt removal, external ventricular drainage, and appropriate antibiotics. After the infection was cleared or if no infection was present, treatment consisted of: (1) repositioning the distal catheter into the peritoneum, (2) repositioning the distal catheter into the pleural space, the atrium, or the gallbladder, (3) exploratory laparotomy with lysis of adhesions and repositioning the peritoneal catheter, (4) APC aspiration only, or (5) shunt removal or disconnection. Because of the complexity of APC management, we analyzed the outcomes of our cases and outlined an algorithm to simplify this process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-83
Number of pages7
JournalPediatric Neurosurgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Abdominal pseudocyst
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Infection
  • Predisposing factors
  • Treatment algorithm
  • Ventriculoperitoneal shunt

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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