What is Hydrocephalus?

What is hydrocephalus?
What is hydrocephalus? Photo: Pixabay

Hydrocephalus is a medical condition that occurs when there is an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the brain’s cavities, known as ventricles.

This fluid normally circulates through the brain and spinal cord, performing essential functions such as protecting the nervous system, removing waste, and transporting nutrients.
However, when the balance between the production and absorption of this fluid is disturbed, it can lead to increased intracranial pressure, brain swelling, and eventually brain damage.
Hydrocephalus can occur at any age but is more common in infants and adults over 60. Its causes vary and can include congenital defects, infections, hemorrhages, tumors, or traumatic injuries.

Symptoms also vary depending on age and cause. In infants, an abnormally large head, tense or bulging fontanels (soft spots), irritability, drowsiness, and vomiting may be observed. In older children and adults, symptoms may include headaches, nausea, vision problems, balance difficulties, cognitive issues, and urinary incontinence.

Treatment typically involves draining the excess fluid, which can be done through surgical procedures to insert a shunt (a system of tubes) or through endoscopic ventriculostomy, a less invasive procedure that creates a new pathway for fluid drainage. Treatment and prognosis depend on the underlying cause and the severity of the condition.

Source: National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA

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