WARF: P170214US01

‘Smart’ Cerebrospinal Fluid Shunt


Bermans Iskandar, Joshua Medow, Christopher Luzzio, John Webster, Mehdi Shokoueinejad Maragheh, Fa Wang, Xuan Zhang

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing an improved cerebral shunt for relieving pressure on the brain caused by excess fluid accumulation.

Unlike commercially available shunts, the new design permits sophisticated control over valve operation to minimize the long periods of drainage that can cause tissue distortion. The device has been prototyped and tested in vitro.
OVERVIEWHydrocephalus is a life-threatening condition caused by abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid within the ventricles of the brain. Typically it is treated through the surgical placement of a shunt system that drains the excess fluid from the brain to another part of the body. Valves positioned within the shunt pathway help regulate flow.

Shunt failure is a very common complication and requires immediate medical attention. A leading cause of failure is partial or complete blockage of the shunt. Blockage may be caused by continuous over-draining. Over time the ability of the tissue to rebound diminishes, causing the tissue to become permanently deformed and lodged within the catheter holes.
THE INVENTIONUW–Madison neurological surgeons and their collaborators have developed a ‘smart’ shunt that is self-regulating and overcomes the issue of over-drainage associated with all commercially available systems.

The new system features continuous intracranial pressure sensing and a novel valve design actuated by a piezoelectric lever. An external wireless transmitter (e.g., RFID device) connected to a computer enables physicians to control the shunt, to set parameters or thresholds for the valve.

By monitoring intracranial pressure and continuously alternating between opened/closed valve position, the system prevents fluid from constantly draining. This allows the surrounding tissue to rebound from the catheter holes, allows the brain to retain its normal shape, and mitigates blockage concerns.
  • Implantable medical device for treating hydrocephalus
  • Significantly reduces over-drainage
  • Minimizes tissue deformation
  • Provides continuous monitoring without continuous drainage
  • Features simplified electrically actuated valves
  • Permits external communication and control of the system
  • Prevents sudden pressure changes or spikes (e.g., caused by patient coughing)
STAGE OF DEVELOPMENTA prototype has been assembled with functional software to handle the controls. Also a lab-bench simulation/testing device has been developed to demonstrate that the shunt functions as designed.
For More Information About the Inventors
Contact Information
For current licensing status, please contact Jeanine Burmania at or 608-960-9846.
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