Patients & Families

What is Hydrocephalus?

Hydrocephalus is a condition that occurs when fluid builds up in the skull and causes the brain to swell. The name means “water on the brain.”

Brain damage can occur as a result of the fluid buildup. This can lead to developmental, physical, and intellectual impairments. It requires treatment to prevent serious complications.1

normal ventricle vs. enlarged ventricle

Hydrocephalus mainly occurs in children and adults over 60, but it can affect younger adults as well. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) estimates that 1 to 2 of every 1,000 babies are born with hydrocephalus.1

Interested in learning more about support communities in place for patients of Hydrocephalus, or would like to become involved in the greater Hydrocephalus community?

Treatment

In most cases, a shunt is surgically inserted to drain the excess fluid into the patient’s chest or abdominal cavity. The shunt is a drainage system made of a long tube with a valve. The valve helps CSF flow at a normal rate and in the right direction. Excess fluid drains from the brain and out the other end of the tube, where it can be more easily absorbed. A shunt implant is typically permanent and has to be monitored regularly.1

Shunt Complications

An estimated 50% of shunts in the pediatric population fail within two years of placement and repeated neurosurgical operations are often required.

The most common shunt complications are malfunction and infection.

Shunt malfunction is a partial or complete blockage of the shunt that causes it to function intermittently or not at all. When a blockage occurs, CSF accumulates and can result in symptoms of untreated hydrocephalus.

Shunt infection is usually caused by a person’s own bacterial organisms and isn’t acquired from other children or adults who are ill. The most common infection is Staphylococcus Epidermidis, which is normally found on the surface of a person’s skin and in the sweat glands and hair follicles deep within the skin. This type of infection is most likely seen one to three months after surgery, but can occur up to six months after the placement of a shunt.2

cerebrospinal fluid diversion

“I have had to suffer my entire life from complications with my VP shunts resulting in the 140+ brain surgeries I’ve had to undergo to try to control some complex medical issues.”

- Olivia, 21

READ OLIVIA'S STORY
Photo courtesy of http://www.nomorebrainsurgeries.org/ #NoMoreBS

ReFlow™ Ventricular System

Addressing one of the most common problems in Hydrocephalus treatment: non-flowing shunts.

The ReFlow™ Ventricular system is a game changer in the current options for treating hydrocephalus. Through personal engagement with hydrocephalus experts, the broader scientific community, and with patients and families just like you, we have developed an alternative shunt system designed to address one of the most common problems in Hydrocephalus: non-flowing shunts.

The ReFlow™ Ventricular System is comprised of a “Flusher” and a specially designed Ventricular Catheter, and can be connected to a standard commercial flow regulator CSF shunt valve and peritoneal catheter.

When there is flow, or the shunt is functioning normally, the Flusher is passive and flow is regulated by the flow regulator valve. When the Ventricular Catheter is occluded, usually due to blocked inlet holes in the ventricular catheter, a press of the Flusher by a qualified clinician sends a small, controlled pulse of fluid toward the Ventricular Catheter in an effort to dislodge any choroid plexus or blockages that are hindering flow through the Ventricular Catheter.

The Reflow™ Ventricular System’s ventricular catheter has an additional, ‘relief membrane’ backup feature. If the Flusher is unable to unblock the standard inlet holes of the Ventricular Catheter, the small controlled pulse of fluid from the flusher has been specifically designed and tested to open the ‘relief membrane’ to make an additional opening in the Ventricular Catheter to re-establish flow.

How It Works

Reflow Flusher from Anuncia

“This is a simple and intuitive idea, and I am very hopeful that it will benefit many children by reducing shunt problems.”

BENJAMIN C. WARF, MD
Pediatric Neurosurgeon, Boston Children’s Hospital

Non-invasive method for turning a non-flowing shunt into a flowing shunt with a single press.

1. Once the Flusher is activated, a precise pulse of fluid pushes out the occlusion.

2. As a backup, the relief membrane is opened, if the occlusion is densely severe, and cannot be removed

What does this mean for patients with shunts?

The ReFlow™ Ventricular System provides a potential alternative to emergency shunt revision surgery to address a blocked ventricular catheter, one of the most common problems in the treatment of Hydrocephalus.

Instead of having a shunt that would typically be accessed and corrected through an immediate, emergency brain surgery or an invasive intervention (when a malfunction happens such as suspected blocked ventricular catheter); you or your child would be equipped with a shunt system that can be accessed by your physician in a regular medical appointment, for a procedure that offers you the chance to potentially avoid emergency surgery for a better clinical outcome.

Shaping the future of Hydrocephalus treatment

With the ReFlow™ Ventricular System, we hope to allow patients and families to regain control of their lives. This system represents a first step towards a new generation of Hydrocephalus shunts with advanced technological features focused on improving the lives of patients and their families. The ReFlow™ Ventricular System has been engineered to empower clinicians in the treatment of Hydrocephalus to help to break the cycle of endless trips to the hospital, and serial emergency shunt revision surgeries.

We are committing to expanding our hydrocephalus treatment platforms to further improve the treatment of hydrocephalus.