Ventricular-Atrial Shunt (VA Shunt)

What is a VA Shunt and what does it do?

Person with VA Shunt in place, AP view Person with VA Shunt in place, lateral view Heart Image with labels

This is a device which drains the extra fluid in the brain into the right atrium of the heart. The distal end of the shunt catheter (see Parts of a Shunt below) is placed into a vein in the neck and threaded down where the vein joins a larger vein called the Superior Vena Cava. This large vein returns blood to the right atrium of the heart. The cerebral spinal fluid is absorbed into the blood supply.

Basic Parts of a Shunt

Illustration Showing Different Parts of a Shunt

There are many different kinds of shunts. All have three basic parts: a Ventricular Catheter, a Shunt Valve and a Distal Catheter. See What is a Shunt? to understand how the different parts of a shunt function.