Hydrocephalus is the buildup of too much cerebrospinal fluid in the brain. Normally, this fluid cushions your brain. When you have too much, though, it puts harmful pressure on your brain.
Hydrocephalus can cause permanent brain damage, so it’s important that you recognize symptoms of this condition and seek medical attention. The condition is more common in children, but it can happen at any age.
Early signs of hydrocephalus in infants include:
• bulging fontanel, or soft spot on the surface of the skull
• a rapid increase in head circumference
• eyes that are fixed downward
• extreme fussiness
• excessive sleepiness
• poor feeding
• low muscle tone and strength
Toddlers and Older Children
Symptoms or signs that affect toddlers and older children include:
• short, high-pitched cries
• personality changes
• changes in facial structure
• crossed eyes
• muscle spasms
• delayed growth
• trouble eating
• extreme sleepiness
• loss of coordination
• loss of bladder control
• larger than normal head
• trouble staying awake or waking up
• vomiting or nausea
• problems concentrating
Young and Middle-Aged Adults
Symptoms in young and middle-aged adults include:
• chronic headaches
• loss of coordination
• difficulty walking
• bladder problems
• vision problems
• poor memory
• difficulty concentrating
Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH)
This form of the condition usually begins slowly and is more common in adults over the age of 60. One of the earliest signs is falling suddenly without losing consciousness. Other common symptoms of Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH) include:
• changes in the way you walk
• impaired mental functions, such as memory problems
• trouble controlling urine
• trouble controlling stools
A diagnosis of hydrocephalus is usually based on:
- Your answers to the doctor's questions about signs and symptoms
- A general physical
- A neurological exam
- Brain imaging tests
- Neurological exam
The type of neurological exam will depend on a person's age. The neurologist may ask questions and conduct relatively simple tests in the office to judge:
- Muscle condition
- Sensory status
- Movement status
- Psychiatric condition
7 .Brain imaging
Brain imaging tests can show enlargement of the ventricles caused by excess cerebrospinal fluid. They may also be used to identify underlying causes of hydrocephalus or other conditions contributing to the symptoms.
Imaging tests may include:
Ultrasound. Ultrasound imaging, which uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images, is often used for an initial assessment for infants because it's a relatively simple, low-risk procedure.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses radio waves and a magnetic field to produce detailed 3-D or cross-sectional images of the brain.
Computerized tomography (CT) scan is a specialized X-ray technology that can produce cross-sectional views of the brain.
CT scans for hydrocephalus are usually used only for emergency exams.
One of two surgical treatments may be used to treat hydrocephalus.
- Shunt: The most common treatment for hydrocephalus is the surgical insertion of a drainage system, called a shunt.
- Endoscopic third ventriculostomy
Endoscopic third ventriculostomy is a surgical procedure that can be used for some people. In the procedure, your surgeon uses a small video camera to have direct vision inside the brain and makes a hole in the bottom of one of the ventricles or between the ventricles to enable cerebrospinal fluid to flow out of the brain.
Consult at Aadil Hospital for medical and surgical treatment