The objective of this study was to assess the relevance of shunted hydrocephalus in regard to participation by young patients in physical education (PE) classes. Students diagnosed with this condition are very often restricted in PE classes owing to the lack of official and well-defined guidelines. However, the medical literature suggests that there is no relationship between the disease and risk of sport-related injuries. In this study, the authors intended to evaluate not only the accuracy of this statement, but also to explore the factors that delay or foreclose return to exercise.
The analysis was conducted on patients aged < 18 years with a diagnosis of shunt-treated hydrocephalus who received follow-up for a minimum of 1 year. Collected medical data were examined for factors limiting participation in PE at school. Indicators of both sport-related injuries and conditions acceptable for return to exercise were gathered during follow-up visits.
In this study, 72.72% of patients attended sport activities in schools. The group based on return to PE class differed significantly in the occurrence of neurological deficits, as well as presence of comorbidities. In univariate analysis, the authors identified these parameters as risk factors limiting participation in PE. On the contrary, etiology of hydrocephalus, type of shunting device, number of shunt malfunctions, and presence of epilepsy did not significantly influence sport engagement.
This study shows that many patients with shunt-treated hydrocephalus can safely participate in PE. Presence of neurological deficits before and after neurosurgical treatment, as well as presence of comorbidities, are factors that negatively impact the possibility of a patient returning to physical activity. Sport-related injuries do occur, but at a low incidence.