<%server.execute "isdev.asp"%> Ventriculo-peritoneal shunt: A rare cause of basal ganglia and thalamic abscess Sangwan P, Saikia B, Sharma PK, Sharma R, Khilnani P - J Pediatr Neurosci
home : about us : ahead of print : current issue : archives search instructions : subscriptionLogin 
Users online: 944      Small font sizeDefault font sizeIncrease font size Print this page Email this page

  Table of Contents    
Year : 2013  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 132-134

Ventriculo-peritoneal shunt: A rare cause of basal ganglia and thalamic abscess

1 Department of Pediatrics, B. L. Kapur Super Speciality Hospital, New Delhi, India
2 Pediatrics Intensive Care Unit, B. L. Kapur Super Speciality Hospital, New Delhi, India

Date of Web Publication7-Sep-2013

Correspondence Address:
Praveen Khilnani
B 42, Panchsheel Enclave, New Delhi 110 017
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1817-1745.117845

Rights and Permissions



We report an 18-month-old female child with ventriculo-peritoneal shunt related thalamic abscess treated with stereotactic aspiration. Deep seated abscesses are complex due to difficult access and are associated with an increased risk of intra-ventricular rupture as well as antibiotic resistance, a fact which justifies a more aggressive and immediate neurosurgical management.

Keywords: Abscess, basal ganglia, pediatrics, thalamic, ventriculo-peritoneal shunt

How to cite this article:
Sangwan P, Saikia B, Sharma PK, Sharma R, Khilnani P. Ventriculo-peritoneal shunt: A rare cause of basal ganglia and thalamic abscess . J Pediatr Neurosci 2013;8:132-4

How to cite this URL:
Sangwan P, Saikia B, Sharma PK, Sharma R, Khilnani P. Ventriculo-peritoneal shunt: A rare cause of basal ganglia and thalamic abscess . J Pediatr Neurosci [serial online] 2013 [cited 2022 Aug 12];8:132-4. Available from: https://www.pediatricneurosciences.com/text.asp?2013/8/2/132/117845

   Introduction Top

Brain abscess though less common, continues to constitute one of the most important neurological emergencies with potential poor outcome. Thalamic and basal ganglia abscesses are much rarer than abscesses in other locations of the brain. Only a few cases of such inflammatory lesions have been reported [Table 1]. We report a rare case of basal ganglia and thalamic abscess as a complication of ventriculo-peritoneal (VP) shunt.
Table 1: Pediatric basal ganglia and thalamic abscess reported cases

Click here to view

   Case Report Top

An 18-month-old female child presented with fever, vomiting off and on for 2½ months and altered sensorium and seizure for 1 day at an outlying hospital.

Child was operated at 25 days of life for cervical meningomyelocele and VP shunt was placed for hydrocephalus. Shunt revision was carried out at 1½ month of age for oozing from surgical site. At 6-month of age, VP shunt was seen protruding through anus, for which distal end of shunt was shortened surgically and shunt left in situ at the outlying hospital. No shunt revision was performed. Child remained well for next 1 year. At 18-month of age, child was referred to us with altered sensorium and Glasgow Coma Score of 8/15. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed multiple abscesses in the left basal ganglia and one in thalamus which measured approximately 25 mm × 24 mm with midline shift of 11 mm [Figure 1] and shunt was transversing through the trigone, quadrigeminal area into the thalamic area on the contra-lateral side. Investigation revealed high total leukocyte count (25700/ mm 3 ) with thrombocytosis (469 × 10 5 ), prothrombin time/international normalized ratio-20.1/1.99, Na + -123 mEq/L. Child was managed with mechanical ventilation, 3% saline, intravenous Meropenem (120 mg/kg/day q 8 h) and Vancomycin (60 mg/kg/day q 6 h) empirically. Hyponatremia was corrected gradually over next 48 h. VP shunt was removed and external ventricular drain (EVD) was placed in right ventricle for immediate decompression followed by stereotactic aspiration of abscess. Morganella morgagni, Klebsiella pneumonia, and Enterococcus faecalis were isolated from the pus and M. morgagni was isolated from blood. As per the sensitivity intravenous colistin (1.2 lakh IU/kg/day q 8 h) was added. EVD got dislocated and omaya reservoir was placed. Intravenous antibiotics were given for a total of 6 weeks and subsequently patient underwent VP shunt revision.
Figure 1: Magnetic resonance imaging brain showing abscess in left thalamic and basal ganglia (see arrow) with midline shift to right

Click here to view

   Discussion Top

Early diagnosis and successful treatment of brain abscess still remains a clinical challenge. Thalamic and basal ganglia abscesses are relatively rare, the reported incidence varies from 1.3-6% of brain abscesses. [1] Thalamic abscesses are metastatic lesions of hematogenous origin, mostly from congenital heart disease, intra-thoracic sepsis, abdominal sepsis, cryptogenic and of local origin, from dental caries, otitis media, and sinusitis. [1],[2],[3] Immuno-compromised state is one of the predisposing factors; however, in many cases source of sepsis or predisposing factor could not be determined. [2],[4] In our case, there was a retrograde spread of shunt infection from the colonic bacteria as the shunt that was protruding through the anus was only repositioned and not completely replaced. This is the most likely cause of thalamic abscess in our patient. Most patients present with fever with leukocytosis, signs of raised intracranial pressure such as headache, altered sensorium, and hemiparesis.

Computed tomography (CT) and MRI have facilitated the rapid identification of thalamic and basal ganglia abscesses. Differential diagnosis includes fungal, nocardial or tubercular abscesses, neurocysticercosis, toxoplasmosis, glioblastoma, metastasis, infarction, and resolving hematoma. [1],[2],[5] The diagnosis can be difficult, particularly in the absence of fever and serological signs of infection. A tissue diagnosis should be attempted using stereotactic procedure if available.

The best surgical management of a thalamic abscess remains controversial. Treatment options include stereotactic aspiration with or without continuous drainage, [4],[6],[7] free hand aspirations through a burr hole, [3] stereo-endoscopic aspiration, [8],[9] ultrasound guided aspiration, surgical trans-ventricular approach, and medical management. Stereotactic aspiration remains the preferred treatment as it drains the contents of the abscess, reduces mass effect, and confirms diagnosis. [4],[6] It is minimally invasive; carries less morbidity, mortality, and can be performed on compromised patients under local anesthesia. [6] Reported incidence of complications with stereotactic surgery is 7.2% and incidence of symptomatic hemorrhage ranges from 0-5.3%. [8] Since the procedure is blind, there are chances of incomplete evacuation with recurrence of abscess and fulminant ventriculitis by intra-ventricular leakage. After stereotactic aspiration or drainage, VP shunt may be required in 50% of the cases. [3]

Evacuation of brain abscess by a stereotactic endoscope has been reported by Wan and Jiang [8] The endoscopic aspiration with antibiotic irrigation of thalamic abscess was successfully reported by Gajdhar and Yadav [9] Advantage of this technique was aspiration of abscess under direct visualization with dissolution of loculi, direct assessment of completeness of aspiration and lesser chances of complications like hemorrhage.

The ability to monitor the drainage by using near-real-time imaging information is exceptional with MRI. [10] Multiplanar capabilities, high spatial resolution, excellent soft-tissue contrast and the absence of ionizing radiation with MRI makes it a more attractive alternative; however, high cost may limit the availability. In our case, due to non-availability of real-time MRI at our institution, CT guided stereotactic evacuation of the abscess was performed with good results.[14]

   Conclusion Top

Ascending infection with gram negative enteric organisms in central nervous system is a known complication of VP shunt, may rarely cause abscess in thalamus and basal ganglia requiring neuro-intensive care, early drainage, appropriate antibiotics, and stereotactic neurosurgical intervention.

   References Top

1.Lutz TW, Landolt H, Wasner M, Gratzl O. Diagnosis and management of abscesses in the basal ganglia and thalamus: A survey. Acta Neurochir (Wien) 1994;127:91-8.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Bhatia R, Tandon P, Misra NK. Inflammatory lesions of the basal ganglia and thalamus: Review of twenty-one cases. Neurosurgery 1986;19:983-8.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Singh P, Singh AP. Thalamic and ganglionic abscesses: A report of two cases: Letter to editor. Neurol India 2002;50:225-6.  Back to cited text no. 3
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
4.Callovini GM, Bolognini A, Gammone V, Petrella G. First-line stereotactic treatment of thalamic abscesses: Report of three cases and review of the literature. Cent Eur Neurosurg 2009;70:143-8.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Hollander D, Villemure JG, Leblanc R. Thalamic abscess: A stereotactically treatable lesion. Appl Neurophysiol 1987;50:168-71.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Boviatsis EJ, Kouyialis AT, Stranjalis G, Korfias S, Sakas DE. CT-guided stereotactic aspiration of brain abscesses. Neurosurg Rev 2003;26:206-9.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Lunsford LD, Niranjan A, Khan AA, Kondziolka D. Establishing a benchmark for complications using frame-based stereotactic surgery. Stereotact Funct Neurosurg 2008;86:278-87.  Back to cited text no. 7
8.Wan J, Jiang C. Development and clinical application of a brain stereotactic endoscope. Zhonghua Wai Ke Za Zhi 1998;36:536-8.  Back to cited text no. 8
9.Gajdhar M, Yadav YR. A case of thalamic abscess treated by endoscopic surgery. Neurol India 2005;53:345-6.  Back to cited text no. 9
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
10.Kollias SS, Bernays RL. Interactive magnetic resonance imaging-guided management of intracranial cystic lesions by using an open magnetic resonance imaging system. J Neurosurg 2001;95:15-23.  Back to cited text no. 10
11.Kilic O, Kafadar A, Camcioglu Y, Akcakaya N, Cokugra H, HasilogluZ I. Primary Intracranial Abscess localized in the Basal Ganglia: A Case Report. Journal of Tropical Pediatrics. 2012; 58 (1):71-73.  Back to cited text no. 11
12.Yamamoto M, Hagiwara S, Umebara Y, et al. Solitary pyogenic thalamic abscess-two case reports Neurol Med Chir (Tokyo). 1993;33:630-3.  Back to cited text no. 12
13.Barlas O, Sencer A, Erkan K, et al. Stereotactic surgery in the management of brain abscess Surg Neurol. 1999;52:404-11.  Back to cited text no. 13
14.Peker S, Isik U, Akgun Y, et al. Deep brain stimulation for Holmes' tremor related to a thalamic abscess Childs Nerv Syst. 2008;24:1057-62.  Back to cited text no. 14


  [Figure 1]

  [Table 1]

This article has been cited by
1 MR Navigation and Tractography-Assisted Transcranial Neuroendoscopic Aspiration of Pediatric Thalamic Abscess
Onur Ozgural, EyyubS.M. Al-Beyati, Gokmen Kahilogullari
Pediatric Neurosurgery. 2019; 54(5): 354
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


Print this article  Email this article
    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
    Article in PDF (427 KB)
    Citation Manager
    Access Statistics
    Reader Comments
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

   Case Report
    Article Figures
    Article Tables

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded64    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 1    

Recommend this journal