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Can someone with a VP Shunt get an MRI?

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Old 03-06-2017, 09:18 AM   #1
jasewell
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Default Can someone with a VP Shunt get an MRI?

I have been told no, bu then I read that it is possible if you have a nurse practitioner or a neurosurgeon on hand to reset the shunt settings. Does anyone know what is the truth about this? I have a herniated disc in my neck and can only get a catscan I was told, not an MRI.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-07-2017, 08:26 PM   #2
Merl1n
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Originally Posted by jasewell View Post
I have been told no, bu then I read that it is possible if you have a nurse practitioner or a neurosurgeon on hand to reset the shunt settings. Does anyone know what is the truth about this? I have a herniated disc in my neck and can only get a catscan I was told, not an MRI.

Thanks in advance.
From the information I have, it depends on the type of shunt valve you have. Some valves have a fixed pressure and MRI scans have no effect on these valves. My previous shunt was a fixed pressure device and I had numerous MRI's without any issues.
My shunt was revised and a variable pressure valve was inserted. Since this I have been given mixed messages about MRI's. I have been told that I can no longer have MRI's or that if I have an MRI there must be a neurosurgeon available to reset the valve pressure. Since the variable valve has been inserted I have not had an MRI and only had CT scans. The radiologist informed me that if there was an issue it would show on a CT, then for a more refined image an MRI could be ordered within a hospital setting, where there would need to be a neurosurgeon available to make the required adjustments to the valve settings.
Hope it helps
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Old 03-08-2017, 02:30 AM   #3
pogo
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Our hospital clinic usually has neurosurgery NPs reset valves, after MRIs or adjusting to a new pressure. They did that today, and last week, and last April (which was after an MRI), etc.. Sometimes a resident resets the valve but that last happened tens of resets ago.

Not all hospitals have the equipment for resetting a valve so we added a note to our child's medical file at our hmo as they don't reset valves. And insurance didn't always approve resets even tho they may have approved the MRI - they fixed that to preapprove three and we will hit that at MRI in April but they just did not get why it was a problem, wth?! And it is billed as an outpatient hospital procedure with a 100$ copay, what other outpatient procedure is a few minutes like that?

Just because it's possible does not make it a desirable frequent option as re programmable valves can become stuck. I've met a few parents of kids whose valves could never not be reset but they were stuck at the right setting putting off a revision. Some valves are sturdier in MRIs than others. Our docs estimate that our child's valve has 6-8 MRIs before expecting it to get stuck. They can get notably harder to reprogram after a few MRIs.
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Old 03-11-2017, 12:32 PM   #4
jasewell
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Default Advice from my neurosurgeon

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Originally Posted by jasewell View Post
I have been told no, bu then I read that it is possible if you have a nurse practitioner or a neurosurgeon on hand to reset the shunt settings. Does anyone know what is the truth about this? I have a herniated disc in my neck and can only get a catscan I was told, not an MRI.

Thanks in advance.
Apparently VP Shunt people CAN get MRIs. My doctor advised to get an Xray before the MRI and then an Xray after to compare the shunt settings to see if there were any changes. Have a neurosurgeon adjust back to the previous setting if that happens. He also said if it did change it would not be by much and you probably would not notice a difference.

Passing this info on to anyone who thought an MRI was not possible.
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Old 03-11-2017, 03:32 PM   #5
pogo
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Your doc is generalizing quite a bit, there's definitely a range... our 10yo has had one strata which didn't change much and a 3-4 codmans (5 revisions overall) which have changed a lot during MRIs - either way she is super sensitive to the pressure settings (a key reason she has codmans now) and has a short window before becoming quite ill. Also has had ~30 head CTs and more xrays (shunt series plus setting checks) - that radiation adds up

here's a link to more info, note some valves can be locked to not change in <=3T MRIs, 3T magnetic resonance imaging testing of externally programmable shunt valves

Last edited by pogo; 03-11-2017 at 03:59 PM.
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Old 03-15-2017, 05:22 PM   #6
jasewell
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Default Pogo thanks

for that updated information.
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