Brain conditions

Hydrocephalus

Hydrocephalus occurs when there is an imbalance between the production, circulation and absorption of cerebral spinal fluid around the brain and spinal cord. This can be complex and may result in ventricles (fluid spaces within the brain) enlarging.

There are two types of this condition:

  • congenital
  • that acquired by infection, tumours or bleeding

What are the symptoms of hydrocephalus?

Symptoms include:

  • large skull in infants
  • headache
  • nausea
  • affected vision
  • sensitive to noise
  • seizures
  • incontinence
  • affected memory
  • loss of consciousness

How is hydrocephalus treated?

Symptomatic hydrocephalus is usually treated with surgery. Depending on the type and cause, surgery may involve removing a blockage to create a new pathway for fluid to drain, or placing a shunt to divert the fluid to another body cavity. If left untreated, hydrocephalus can increase pressure within the brain. This can lead to tissue damage and its sequelae.

If someone is diagnosed with hydrocephalus during an unrelated medical examination but they do not have symptoms, a neurosurgeon may recommend to keep monitoring it. They will provide surgery if needed.

 

Sources
  1. Healthdirect, Hydrocephalus.
  2. Sydney Children’s Hospital Network, Spina Bifida – Hydrocephalus and Spina Bifida.