Some symptoms of a possible ventriculoperitoneal shunt malfunction include a headache that increases in severity, vomiting, fatigue and irritability, according to Baylor Scott and White Health. Patients with VP shunts may also experience double vision, vision loss or blurry vision. Other symptoms include personality changes and swelling along the area where the surgeon placed the shunt.
A baby less than 1 year old with a malfunctioning VP shunt may have his entire head begin to swell, states Baylor Scott and White Health. He may also become very fussy, refuse to eat and have fits of high-pitched crying. An older child who can speak may become grouchy, whiny or impatient. There may be a soft spot on the child's head that begins to swell.
An adult with a malfunctioning VP shunt may experience the same types of symptoms he had before the surgeon placed the shunt, notes Baylor Scott and White Health. Elderly patients may find they have difficulty walking or controlling their bladders. They may also experience mental problems.
People with VP shunts who experience any of these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention, cautions Baylor Scott and White Health. They should also look for signs of VP shunt infection, which include fever and pain, swelling or redness in the area near the shunt. An infection can cause the shunt to stop working.