Quantcast
Follow us On YouTube Follow us On FaceBook



or
Search Language
Browse
Medical Animations
Medical Animation Titles
Custom Legal Animations
Anatomical Models
Patient Health Articles
Custom Interactive
Most Recent Uploads
Body Systems/Regions
Anatomy & Physiology
Diseases & Conditions
Diagnostics & Surgery
Cells & Tissues
Cardiovascular System
Digestive System
Integumentary System
Nervous System
Reproductive System
Respiratory System
Back and Spine
Foot and Ankle
Head and Neck
Hip
Knee
Shoulder
Thorax
Medical Specialties
Cancer
Cardiology
Dentistry
Editorial
Neurology/Neurosurgery
Ob/Gyn
Orthopedics
Pediatrics
Account
Administrator Login
The Doe Report Medical Reference Library
Print this article
Hydrocephalus

Hydrocephalus Loading image. Please wait...

Hydrocephalus is a condition in which the primary characteristic is excessive accumulation of fluid in the brain. Although hydrocephalus was once known as "water on the brain," the "water" is actually cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) -- a clear fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord. The excessive accumulation of CSF results in an abnormal dilation of the spaces in the brain called ventricles. This dilation causes potentially harmful pressure on the tissues of the brain. Hydrocephalus may be congenital or acquired. Congenital hydrocephalus is present at birth and may be caused by either environmental influences or genetic predisposition. Acquired hydrocephalus develops at the time of birth or at some point afterward. Acquired hydrocephalus can affect individuals of all ages and may be caused by injury or disease. The causes of hydrocephalus are not all well understood.

Symptoms
Symptoms of hydrocephalus vary with age, disease progression, and individual differences in tolerance to CSF. In infancy, the most obvious indication of hydrocephalus is often the rapid increase in head circumstance or an unusually large head size. In older children and adults, symptoms may include headache followed by vomiting, nausea, papilledema (swelling of the optic disk, which is part of the optic nerve), downward deviation of the eyes (called "sunsetting"), problems with balance, poor coordination, gait disturbance, urinary incontinence, slowing or loss of development, lethargy, drowsiness, irritability, or other changes in personality or cognition, including memory loss.

Diagnosis
Hydrocephalus is diagnosed through clinical neurological evaluation and by using cranial imaging techniques such as ultrasonography, computer tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or pressure-monitoring techniques.Loading image. Please wait...

Is there any treatment?
Hydrocephalus is most often treated with the surgical placement of a shunt system. This system diverts the flow of CSF from a site within the central nervous system to another area of the body where it can be absorbed as part of the circulatory process. A shunt is a flexible but study silastic tube. A limited number of patients can be treated with an alternative procedure called third ventriculostomy. In this procedure, a small hole is made in the floor of the third ventricle, allowing the CSF to bypass the obstruction and flow toward the site of resorption around the surface of the brain.Loading image. Please wait...

What is the Prognosis?
The prognosis for patients diagnosed with hydrocephalus is difficult to predict, although there is some correlation between the specific cause of hydrocephalus and the patient's outcome. Prognosis is further complicated by the presence of associated disorders, the timeliness of diagnosis, and the success of treatment. Affected individuals and their families should be aware that hydrocephalus poses risks to both cognitive and physical development. Treatment by an interdisciplinary team of medical professionals, rehabilitation specialists, and educational experts is critical to a positive outcome. Many children diagnosed with the disorder benefit from rehabilitation therapies and educational interventions, and go on to lead normal lives with few limitations.

Source: The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Reviewed 07-01-2001



Medical/Legal Disclaimer
Copyright © 2003 Nucleus Medical Art, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Related Medical Demonstrative Evidence - click thumbnail to review.
Congenital Hydrocephalus
Congenital Hydrocephalus -
Medical Illustration
Add to my lightbox
Find More Like This
Hydrocephalus and Ventriculoperitoneal (VP) Shunt
Hydrocephalus and Ventriculoperitoneal (VP) Shunt -
Medical Exhibit
Add to my lightbox
Find More Like This
Shunt Obstruction with Fatal Hydrocephalus
Shunt Obstruction with Fatal Hydrocephalus -
Medical Exhibit
Add to my lightbox
Find More Like This
Progression of Hydrocephalus
Progression of Hydrocephalus -
Medical Exhibit
Add to my lightbox
Find More Like This
Progression of Hydrocephalus with Eventual Herniation of the Brain Stem
Progression of Hydrocephalus with Eventual Herniation of the Brain Stem -
Medical Exhibit
Add to my lightbox
Find More Like This
Progression of Hydrocephalus with Eventual Herniation of the Brain Stem
Progression of Hydrocephalus with Eventual Herniation of the Brain Stem -
Medical Exhibit
Add to my lightbox
Find More Like This
Congenital Birth Defects - Spina Bifida, Hydrocephalus and Arnold-Chiari Malformation
Congenital Birth Defects - Spina Bifida, Hydrocephalus and Arnold-Chiari Malformation -
Medical Exhibit
Add to my lightbox
Find More Like This
Hydrocephalus and Ventriculoperitoneal (VP) Shunt
Hydrocephalus and Ventriculoperitoneal (VP) Shunt -
Medical Exhibit
Add to my lightbox
Find More Like This
Congenital Birth Defects - Spina Bifida, Hydrocephalus and Arnold-Chiari Malformation
Congenital Birth Defects - Spina Bifida, Hydrocephalus and Arnold-Chiari Malformation -
Medical Exhibit
Add to my lightbox
Find More Like This
Placement of Ventricular Shunt for Hydrocephalus with Subsequent Infection
Placement of Ventricular Shunt for Hydrocephalus with Subsequent Infection -
Medical Exhibit
Add to my lightbox
Find More Like This
Skull and Brain Injuries with Subsequent Hydrocephalus
Skull and Brain Injuries with Subsequent Hydrocephalus -
Medical Exhibit
Add to my lightbox
Find More Like This
Hydrocephalus and Intraventricular Hemorrhage with Placement of Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt
Hydrocephalus and Intraventricular Hemorrhage with Placement of Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt -
Medical Exhibit
Add to my lightbox
Find More Like This
How do I find a personal injury lawyer in my local area?
Find a personal injury lawyer in your local area using LEGALpointer™, a national directory of U.S. attorneys specializing in personal injury, medical malpractice, workers' compensation, medical product liability and other medical legal issues. Or, click on one of the following to see attorneys in your area: Alabama (AL), Alaska (AK), Arizona (AZ), Arkansas (AR), California (CA), Colorado (CO), Connecticut (CT), Delaware (DE), Washington D.C. (DC), Florida (FL), Georgia (GA), Hawaii (HI), Idaho (ID), Illinois (IL), Indiana (IN), Iowa (IA), Kansas (KS), Kentucky (KY), Louisiana (LA), Maine (ME), Maryland (MD), Massachussets (MA), Michigan (MI), (MN), Mississippi (MS), (MO), Montana (MT), North Carolina (NC), North Dakota (ND), Nebraska (NE), Nevada (NV), New Hampshire (NH), New Jersey (NJ), New Mexico (NM), New York (NY), Ohio (OH), Oklahoma (OK), Oregon (OR), Pennsylvania (PA), Puerto Rico (PR), Rhode Island (RI), South Carolina (SC), South Dakota (SD), Tennessee (TN), Texas (TX), Utah (UT), Virginia (VA), Virgin Islands (VI), Vermont (VT), Washington (WA), West Virginia (WV), Wisconsin (WI).












Awards | Resources | Articles | Become an Affiliate | Free Medical Images | Pregnancy Videos
Credits | Jobs | Help | Medical Legal Blog | Find a Lawyer | Hospital Marketing