Hydrocephalus

July 30, 20130 Comments

Hydrocephalus is the condition of accumulation of water or other fluids on the ventricles of the brain. Gradual increase in fluid will induce pressure on the brain disrupting normal brain functions. In normal condition, cerebrospinal fluid flows through the ventricles of the brain and spinal cord. But when it flows in excess it can damage the tissues of the brain thus disturbing the functions of brain. Hydrocephalus is common on infants and old age people, although it can happen on any age group. It can be treated successfully by surgical treatment.

Hydrocephalus Symptoms :

The person affected with hydrocephalus will have large sized head (bigger than normal size) and a bulging portion is seen on the top of head. He may not sleep properly and can get nausea or vomiting. In severe cases, he may get seizures or epilepsy and feel more irritable than usual. His eyes are pointed downward in rare cases. His muscle tone can get affected and becomes more responsive to touch.

In toddlers there can be problems in feeding, frequent fever, enlargement of head size, blurred vision or double vision and delay in talking. The infant can have poor balance and looks more irritable than usual children. In young children the symptoms are almost the same, added with reduced memory and poor concentration and loss of control over bladder. In old age people, there can be frequent loss of memory, frequent urge to urinate, and difficulty in walking and poor coordination.

Causes Of Hydrocephalus :

Hydrocephalus is caused when there is imbalance between the absorption of cerebrospinal fluid and its production. Cerebrospinal fluid is the fluid that is secreted by the tissues of the ventricles in the brain which flows through it and fills the spaces of your brain and spinal cord. Majority of the fluid is absorbed by the blood vessels of the tissues in the brain. This fluid is responsible for various functions of the brain like removing waste products, maintaining the brain buoyancy and cushioning the brain properly. This fluid flows back and forth on the cavities of the brain thus maintaining constant pressure on the brain.

Cerebrospinal fluid flows in excess due to poor absorption, overproduction and obstruction in the flow of the fluid. When the brain tissues develop inflammation it cannot absorb the fluid properly leading to excess of cerebrospinal fluid.

Tests :

Your doctor will look for the above symptoms and do brain imaging tests and neurological testing for confirming the disease. A neurologist will test the reflex mechanism, muscle strength and response to the touch mechanism etc. Further he would order for ultrasound, CT or MRI scan of the brain to assess the extent of accumulation of fluid and swelling of brain.

Hydrocephalus Treatment :

Shunting is the common method of treatment for hydrocephalus. This process is nothing but surgical removal or draining of excess of cerebrospinal fluid. A long tube is inserted into the brain with a valve that checks the excess of fluid to flow in the right direction. The tubing arrangement is kept inside the brain such that one end is attached with the brain ventricles and the other end is tunneled with the skin so that excess of fluid is sent to other parts of the body.

Individuals with shunting system will have to monitor its condition regularly to prevent any consequences. Ventriculostomy is another procedure in which the surgeon makes a tiny hole on the ventricles of the brain to drain out the excess of cerebrospinal fluid from the brain. Both the procedure involves some risk and complications. The failure of shunting can cause headache, fever, vision problem, redness on the skin and abdominal pain if the shunting tube valve is placed in the abdomen. It is difficult to treat hydrocephalus in children wherein team of doctors and specialists has to work together.

Images, Pics, Photos and Pictures of Hydrocephalus :

Hydrocephalus Hydrocephalus Hydrocephalus Hydrocephalus

Prevention :

Hydrocephalus cannot be prevented. But you can follow the doctor’s advice when you are pregnant for reducing the risk of hydrocephalus affecting your baby. You should protect yourself against any infections by taking vaccination properly. Young children should definitely be vaccinated and take precautions while driving a bike by wearing proper helmet and seat belt.

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