child hydrocephalus shunt survivor

Yvans Tsague: Surviving an Infected Hydrocephalus Shunt

Yvans Tsague has come a long way – from a childhood in the African nation of Cameroon to the United States as an immigrant in 2005. As a teenager, he went on to be a Rutgers University sophomore studying finance.

But the path to a healthy and productive future for the resident of Piscataway, NJ, would never have been possible without the care of Dr. Arno Fried, an expert in pediatric neurosurgery and in the treatment of tumors of the central nervous system (video below), Dr. Allison M. Rathmann, and the team of pediatric neurosurgeons at Advanced Neurosurgery Associates (ANA).

Five years after arriving in the U.S. and settling in New Jersey, Yvans was taken by his mother to the emergency room at Saint Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick after experiencing a range of symptoms that were indications of hydrocephalus, or water on the brain:

  • nausea
  • headaches
  • loss of memory
  • an unsteady gait
  • urinary incontinence.

Failed Hydrocephalus Shunt

After an initial surgery in 2010 for a ventriculoperitoneal shunt (VSP), Yvans developed a series of complications over the next three years that culminated with abdominal pain and a fullness in his belly.

He was found to have a shunt infection in the abdomen because that is where the catheter is placed so fluid drains from the brain. The shunt was externalized by Dr. Allison M. Rathmann, then reinternalized shortly afterward.

According to the Hydrocephalus Association, “an estimated 50% of shunts in the pediatric population fail within two years of placement and repeated neurosurgical operations are often required.

The diligence, expertise and skill of ANA’s Dr. Fried and Dr. Rathmann have improved the condition and lives of many young people and children like Yvans Tsague, such as Hailie Mussinan and Amanda Breem.

At ANA, our expert pediatric neurosurgeons evaluate, diagnose, and treat adolescents, children, and infants with diseases of the nervous system. We are passionate about providing the very best in compassionate care for our patients and their families under often difficult circumstances.