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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name



Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Carolyn A. Harris


Hydrocephalus, or “Water on the brain”, is a disorder in which excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) accumulates within the brain causing an increased pressure inside the skull, also known as Intracranial Pressure (ICP). Hydrocephalus occurs when there is an imbalance between the production of CSF flow and the rate at which it is absorbed. The best treatment option for Hydrocephalus is insertion of a shunt to drain the excess fluid out of the brain, in order to relieve the pressure in the skull. Even at its best, the shunt system fails 85% of the time after ten years of being implanted. This is because the shunt system does not drain physiologically, probably because the fluid out of the shunt does not equal to the production rate in the brain. This disconnect in physiology causes over-drainage, one of the complications of the shunt system and chronic headaches in over 50% of the hydrocephalic patients. In order to understand why over-drainage occurs, this study investigates the dependencies between factors that changes the CSF outflow like ICP with external parameters like postural change and heart rate, that are known to influence the shunt system. To understand these interactions, we used a reliable and well-accepted model of Hydrocephalus in Sprague-Dawley Rats. The results of this pilot study showed an increase in ICP and CSF outflow as a function of postural change and heart rate in rats with Hydrocephalus when compared to control cohort. This pilot study concludes that the factors manipulating CSF outflow should be taken into consideration in the future shunt systems.

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