What is Hydrocephalus?
Hydrocephalus is the buildup of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the ventricular system of the brain. If not cleared out, this build-up could cause serious health related issues and potentially death. Hydrocephalus occurs at a rate of 2 out of every 1000 births, and is particularly dangerous for the pediatric population. The current standard of care is to remove excess fluid and implant a shunt, thereby connecting the ventricles to the peritoneal cavity and depositing the excess CSF there, where it can be reabsorbed.
The shunt device has a malfunction rate of 12.9% after 30 days, and 28.8% after one year - making its failure rate much too high for the non-communicative pediatric and geriatric patient demographic. These malfunctions can prove to be either deadly or permanently debilitating for a patient. Unfortunately, there is no method outside of physician assisted diagnosis for determining whether a shunt is malfunctioning. Shunt malfunctions typically manifest in the form of generic flu-like symptoms, making it difficult for a patient to assess whether their shunt is malfunctioning or they simply have the flu. Thus, patients often undergo an extensive diagnostic procedure which includes taking a patient history, imaging, and possibly invasive procedures. Because of this process, patients often incur unnecessary expenses only to realize that their shunt was not in fact malfunctioning. This is why our team has invented a solution that interjects before patients even arrive at the hospital. By including a sensor that detects the flow of cerebrospinal fluid through cerebral shunts, physicians are able to track a patient’s shunt status remotely. Additionally, our product provides patients with immediate access to the state of their shunt which takes away the unnecessary stress that a malfunction could be occurring whenever a patient experiences any symptoms.