By: Ishmael Johnson
The device that is inserted into the body to help treat hydrocephalus are called shunts and are essentially really long tubes that are placed in the brain.
“The reason it’s so long is because it literally threads through the body and it diverts the fluid from the brain to another part of the body,” said Sheri Burdine, founder of Hydro Angels Over America, a Texas-based nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness of hydrocephalus. “It can go to the belly, the heart, the kidneys or the lung.”
The technology; however, has not been improved much since its invention in 1952 and shunts have an average lifespan of about two years. Burdine wishes for Hydro Angels to one day fund their own research grant to directly help the fight against hydrocephalus.
“My goal is to keep pounding that awareness that will lead us to people funding us,” Burdine said. “To lead me to be able to write that check out to a research grant that’s going to say, ‘Because of Hydro Angels Over America, we now know a better shunt to put in the body,’ or ‘we now know a technique to drain fluids somewhere else without these shunts that break every five minutes.’”
Jessica Gottschalk, vice president of Hydro Angels Over America’s board of directors, echoed this sentiment for further education. She continues to educate family and friends who are curious about not only her daughter’s situation, but the organization’s mission.
Watch Sheri Burdine explain the process of a shunt insertion: