Unusual findings during abdominal placement of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt: report of three cases.

Academic Article


  • The authors present three cases of infants born with myelodysplasia. Each infant underwent closure of a myelomeningocele and within 2 to 4 days placement of a ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt. In each case, on opening the peritoneal cavity, the authors observed egress of a dark or creamy dark fluid. None of the patients had a history of abdominal birth trauma. The decision was made to continue the procedures and send samples of the unusual fluids to the laboratory for culture and analysis. The cultures proved to be nondiagnostic and the characteristics of the fluid samples were most consistent with those of blood-tinged chyle. The authors hypothesize that, occasionally, the mechanical tautness that is created with repair of myelomeningoceles is sufficient to rupture small lymphatic vessels and accompanying blood vessels of the abdomen. An alternative hypothesis is that abdominal compression due to closure of the myelomeningocele may temporarily compress the liver, leading to raised intraportal pressures and resulting in weeping of chyle from the gastrointestinal tract. This abnormal fluid accumulation did not lead to chronic ascites, VP shunt infection, or dysfunction at long-term follow-up examination and abdominal visceral function has not been an issue.
  • Published In


  • Ascitic Fluid, Child, Preschool, Chylous Ascites, Female, Humans, Infant, Infant, Newborn, Intraoperative Complications, Male, Meningomyelocele, Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Tubbs RS; Tyler-Kabara EC; Wellons JC; Blount JP; Oakes WJ
  • Start Page

  • 423
  • End Page

  • 425
  • Volume

  • 102
  • Issue

  • 4 Suppl