Hydrocephalus is a condition in which there is an excessive amount of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the brain. CSF is a clear fluid that surrounds and protects the brain and spinal cord. Normally, CSF is produced and absorbed by the brain at a steady rate. However, in people with hydrocephalus, the production or absorption of CSF is disrupted, which leads to an increase in the amount of CSF in the brain. This can cause increased pressure inside the skull, which can damage brain tissue.
Types of Hydrocephalus
There are two main types of hydrocephalus:
Symptoms of Hydrocephalus
The symptoms of hydrocephalus can vary depending on the age of the person and the severity of the condition. In infants, the symptoms of hydrocephalus may include:
In adults, the symptoms of hydrocephalus may include:
Diagnosis of Hydrocephalus
The diagnosis of hydrocephalus is usually made based on a combination of medical history, physical examination, and imaging tests. Imaging tests that can be used to diagnose hydrocephalus include:
Treatment of Hydrocephalus
The treatment of hydrocephalus depends on the type of hydrocephalus and the severity of the condition. In most cases, hydrocephalus can be treated with a shunt. A shunt is a small, flexible tube that is placed in the brain to drain the excess CSF to another part of the body, such as the abdomen. Shunts are usually very effective in treating hydrocephalus. However, they can sometimes malfunction, which can lead to a recurrence of the hydrocephalus.
Prognosis of Hydrocephalus
The prognosis of hydrocephalus depends on the age of the person and the severity of the condition. In general, the earlier hydrocephalus is diagnosed and treated, the better the prognosis. With treatment, most people with hydrocephalus can live normal lives.
Hydrocephalus is a serious condition, but it can be treated with a shunt. With treatment, most people with hydrocephalus can live normal lives.