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Hydrocephalus

 

Hydrocephalus is the abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the ventricles of the brain causing harmful pressure on it.

Causes
Causes are not very clear but possibilities include:

  • Genetic defects
  • Defects due to premature birth
  • Head injury
  • Tumors
  • Infections such as meningitis
  • Hemorrhage

Symptoms
In infants and young children:

  • Enlarged head
  • Fixed downward gaze
  • Vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Irritability
  • Seizures

In older children and adults:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Downward gaze
  • Difficulty with balance
  • Loss of coordination
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Drowsiness
  • Irritability
  • Memory loss
  • Cognitive loss

Treatment

  • Surgery to insert a shunt to drain the excess fluid to another part of the body for absorption
  • Endoscopic third ventriculostomy to make a surgical opening in the floor of third ventricle for drainage of fluid

Prevention

  • Avoid premature birth by going for regular checkups during pregnancy
  • Avoid head injuries
  • Vaccinate children on time against various diseases