Shunt question

Hi Everyone,

Well I really don't know what to do anymore. I was diagnosed with Chiari, found a great doctor who really listened to me, granted I've only been to see him once. But some of the things I've come to have to deal with now starting on an every day basis, like having A LOT of difficulty swallowing food has become a great concern to me.

My Neurosurgeon sent me for a CT and some X-Rays last Friday, don't know what the results are yet, haven't talked to my doctor, and when I see him again next week he is going to do an MRI at his hospital, which he works out of the Medical College in Toledo, Ohio. Because he believes my shunt which I've had to have 2 revisions on, has a valve somewhere in my head that would need to be reprogrammed after the MRI.

I guess I'm wondering if anyone else here has a shunt and if so if you have what they consider to be a programmable shunt. And if this is something you have to get reprogrammed a lot, because I've had the one I have now since I was 14 and it's never been reprogrammed. I guess I'm just confused about this and looking for more insight like I've been doing here. Any information anyone could give would be great.

Hope everyone ones doing well, and I'm keeping everyone in my thoughts. -Megan-

im sorry you are having problems, and i hope things get sorted very soon.

i dont have a shunt but to help with swollowing, put your chin to your chest when you eat, also take really small mouthfuls and drink plenty of water,

when i have problems i try to have foods that spark my saliva glands,

hard dry foods dont help, try to avoid these

hope this helps in some way,


Hi Joelene,

Thank you for your tips, I haven't tried the chin to chest thing yet, but I do drink a lot of liquid while drinking. And for me its mostly meats like chicken or beef or bread that give me the most problems. Not a lot of hard stuff. Like I can eat pretzels and have no problem at all, which is odd to me. So I'm just going through every day trying to get through every day, because no 2 days are a like, even though the swallowing issue has become pretty much a constant struggle now. But I'm hopeful with tips I've learned from here and other websites and working with my doctor I hope I'm able to find some help. But I really appreciate you taking the time to respond to my post. Take care.


hi megan,

i also have trouple with those foods, sometimes bananas and yogult also give me trouble, i tend to advoid these now, i must admit its very difficult to manage,

ohhh lol pills sometimes get stuck and then i end up with severe spasms in my chest and neck, then sometimes the pain goes to my face, its very painful and going having a big glass of water helps,

you are right no too days are the same, thats what makes it so hard to work out, just when you think you have a routine sorted it changes,


When you swallow, tip your chin down towards your chest. This works wonders on getting food down.

Take small bites, and don't talk when you eat. This one always sneaks back with me, and before you know it I have food stuck and I'm choking on fluids.

If something gets stuck, try gently holding your breath for as long as you are comfortable. Do not hold your breath too long, this will increase your intracranial pressure. About 90% of the time, the food will go down for me. If it doesn't, hold your breath again, while sitting, pull up on the bottom of your chair. Don't hold your breath until you get a headache!

When drinking, drink through a flexible neck straw. Place the straw just to the front of your teeth; don't put it past your teeth. Tilt your head down when you drink. This has almost alleviated any aspiration that takes place for me. It really helps when you take your pills to use a straw.

Another thing that helps with pills is putting them in a tablespoon of applesauce then swallow that.

Pretty soon these techniques will become part of your eating habits.

thanks joelene