Anthony L Petraglia, Michael J Moravan, Babak S Jahromi
Surgical Neurology International 2011 2(1):120-120
Background: Calcified chronic subdural hematomas occur infrequently. When the calcifications are extensive and bilateral, the condition is termed “armored brain”. We describe a case of “armored brain” incidentally discovered in an adult presenting with abdominal pain and mild headaches, long after initial placement of a ventriculo-peritoneal (VP) shunt. Case Description: A 38-year-old woman, treated at infancy with a VP shunt, presented with a 2-month history of abdominal pain associated with nausea and chills. She was neurologically intact on exam. An abdominal computed tomography (CT) scan demonstrated a rim-enhancing loculated fluid collection surrounding the patient’s distal VP shunt catheter tip. As a part of her initial work-up, she received a head CT to evaluate the proximal VP shunt, which demonstrated large bilateral chronic subdural hematomas with heavily calcified walls. She was eventually taken to the operating room (OR) for replacement of the distal catheter. It was felt that her acute clinical presentation was unrelated to the bilateral, calcified subdural hematomas and thus the decision was made to manage them conservatively. Conclusions: This rare complication of chronic shunting for hydrocephalus is sometimes referred to as armored brain. Surgery for armored brain is infrequently indicated and beneficial in only small subgroup of patients, with management guided by clinical presentation. Our patient fully recovered after shunt revision alone.