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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 condition in which excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) accumulates within the brain causing an increased pressure inside the skull. The only standard treatment therapy consists of a silicone shunt system implanted into the CSF-filled ventricles to drain excess fluid. Since the introduction of shunts in 1952, there have been little advancements in overall shunt design despite failure greater than 85% of the time after ten years of being implanted. In spite of many recent advancements in the shunt technologies, hydrocephalic patients frequently complain of headaches which are majorly caused due to the over-draining effect of the shunt, when there is a non-physiological CSF outflow from the ventricles of the brain. This research study focuses on identifying the most predominant factors, like intra-abdominal pressure (IAP), that accentuates the CSF outflow rate more and how these parameters vary with external factors like posture, weight, heart rate and the severity of the disorder. This pilot study showed positive results on the dependencies of IAP and the CSF outflow rate (or shunt’s drainage rate) with the external factors that manipulate these physiological parameters. The work is based on the hypothesis that if these dependencies are studied extensively, it would open doors to develop and design a more efficient and a novel smart shunt system that would not cause complications that lead to non-physiological outflow of the CSF from the ventricles of the brain.

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