Hydrocephalus

What is Hydrocephalus?

In Greek words, ‘Hydro’ means water and ‘cephalus’ means head. Combining these two words, hydrocephalus means water in the brain. Patients suffering from this disease have collected form of...

Symptoms

The symptoms and signs of this disorder greatly vary with age:

  • Infants
  • Unusually large head in infants, and the increment being rapid.
  • Fontanel (tense and bulging soft tissue) at the top of the head.
  • Vomiting.
  • Irritation in small matters.
  • Sleepiness.
  • Poor eating habits.
  • Seizures.
  • Sunsetting of eyes (eyes of children are always fixed downwards).
  • Older children and Toddlers
  • Headache.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Abnormally enlarged head of the toddler.
  • Fever.
  • Delayed walks and talks.
  • Drastic change is personality.
  • Severe problem in being attentive.
  • Declined performance in school.
  • Young and middle-aged adults
  • It becomes difficult for them to remain awake and wake up from sleep.
  • Constant headache.
  • Disturbed co-ordination and balance.
  • Frequent urge for urination and complete loss on bladder control.
  • Difficulty in remembering things.
  • Reduced vision, concentration, and other concentration skills
  • Older adults
  • Frequent urge for urination and complete loss on bladder control.
  • Memory loss.
  • Reduced thinking and reasoning skills.
  • Reduced co-ordination and balance.
  • Slow movements of the body.

Causes

Some common causes of hydrocephalus are:

  • Head injury.
  • Bleeding in the brain.
  • Infection in the nervous system.
  • Premature birth.
  • Complications during pregnancy. 

 

Risks

Long duration complications depend from person to person and hence cannot be predicted. However, if the disease has developed from the time of birth, it may lead to mental and physical disabilities. In severe cases, it can also lead to permanent brain damage.

Prevention

Long duration complications depend from person to person and hence cannot be predicted. However, if the disease has developed from the time of birth, it may lead to mental and physical disabilities. In severe cases, it can also lead to permanent brain damage.Following are some measures that can be used to prevent hydrocephalus:

  • Using appropriate equipments to protect from head injuries.
  • Get regular prenatal care, if you are pregnant.
  • Save yourself from infectious illnesses.

How is it diagnosed?

Usually, hydrocephalus is diagnosed with imaging methods.

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How is it treated?

At Medanta, the following methods are used to treat the disease:

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  • Medications

    In delaying the application of surgical methods, medical treatment is used. It can be used for infants who are premature in acute cases. This is the period when normal absorption of CSF can resume. With chronic hydrocephalus, medical treatment is not effective and fruitful in the long run. It can also result in some side effects that may affect the metabolism of patients. Medical treatment should only be used for temporary relief. Some medication that can be used for combating the disorder are acetazolamide and furosemide, for reducing the CSF secretion and Isosorbide for increment in CSF absorption.

  • Surgery

    Surgery is the most preferred option in case of hydrocephalus. In most of the cases, shunting is performed. The main aim of shunting is to develop a connection between the CSF and the drainage system of the brain. The complications that may arrive with shunts are shunt malfunction, failure, and infection. Mostly the shunt functions well, but if the shunt gets disconnected or is clogged, the fluid will accumulate again.

When do I contact the doctor?

If you face any of the above symptoms, see a doctor immediately.

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How does Medanta provide care?

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Consult with experienced doctors

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