What is an intraventricular reservoir?
An intraventricular reservoir is a small plastic device that is placed under the scalp on the top of your head. They are used to deliver chemotherapy into the brain and spinal cord. The chemotherapy is given in this area to treat any cancer that has developed there, or to help prevent the spread of any cancer cells to this area.
How is an intraventricular reservoir inserted?
An intraventricular reservoir is inserted in the operating theatre under a general anaesthetic. A small area may need to be shaved where the reservoir is inserted.
After the operation you will have a few small stitches and a dressing over the area. The stitches are usually removed 10 days after insertion. You will notice a small bump on your head about 2 or 3 centimetres across, where the reservoir is located. This reservoir has a small silicone area where a needle can be inserted to give chemotherapy directly into the fluid in the brain and spinal cord.
How is chemotherapy given into the intraventricular reservoir?
Chemotherapy can be given by a doctor or nurse who has been trained to use an intraventricular reservoir. Before the procedure the area is shaved if required, and then cleaned with an antiseptic lotion. A needle is put into the reservoir and a small amount of fluid that surrounds your brain and spinal cord is removed. The fluid sample may be sent to a lab for testing. The chemotherapy is then injected slowly into the reservoir; and the needle is removed. A bandaid is placed over the site which can be removed the next day.
What happens after the procedure?
You may be instructed to rest in bed following the procedure. Your nurse will assess your blood pressure, temperature and monitor you for side effects which may include; headache, neck stiffness, fever, blurred vision or vomiting. You need to tell your nurse or doctor if you notice any side effects after you have had your treatment before you leave the clinic.
What do I do if I develop any of these side effects or become unwell at home?
IMMEDIATELY go to your nearest hospital Emergency Department, or contact your doctor or nurse if you have any of the following at any time:
Emergency contact details
Ask your doctor or nurse from your treating team who to contact if you have a problem
- tenderness, redness, or drainage from the site
- a fever of 38oC or more
- neck stiffness
- headache with blurred vision