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 Experiences with VP Shunt and High Altitudes

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PostSubject: Experiences with VP Shunt and High Altitudes   Mon Oct 31, 2016 7:35 pm


I was wondering if anyone has experience with high altitudes (above 10,000 ft) after having a VP shunt placed? 

I had my first surgery in August this year to place a right VP shunt. Then in late September, I had to have a shunt revision as the catheter was clogged. This last surgery seems to be working, although I'm still experiencing headaches. Looking at new scans, the doctors are saying that I have SVS and/or the right ventricle is collapsed as you can't even see it anymore on imaging. Along with that news, my neuro-surgeon said if another shunt revision was needed, the surgery would have "significant risks". I see my ophthalmologist this upcoming week to see if the swelling is stable. If it's not, I would need another shunt revision as the shunt is already at the highest setting and my body can't tolerate any medications. 

Basically after all the above news, I really want to take a trip. One of my dream trips is to go to the Himalayas and hike. 

Am I being naive in thinking I can still do this with my condition? 

Thank you for any help!
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PostSubject: Re: Experiences with VP Shunt and High Altitudes   Tue Nov 01, 2016 8:57 pm

I tend to be affected by even the slightest altitude change, but I know other members that travel for fun and work. Unfortunately, I think it's another one of those "trial and error" aspects of IIH because it affects everyone differently.

I would suggest a short flight at first. Have someone go with you, so they can drive you back if needed. I know I have ridden along on trips through the mountains and tolerated them ok, but then end up with a hangover affect for several days after I'm home. It also seems to depend on how well my shunt is functioning and how bad my symptoms are to start.

I wouldn't say you can't or shouldn't, but be mindful and start small.

Good luck, and let us know how it turns out!
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