What's the treatment for hydrocephalus?
There is no known way to prevent or cure hydrocephalus. Treatment of hydrocephalus depends on its cause. Occasionally, medications are used to slow the rate of cerebrospinal fluid production temporarily. However, this has not been successful for long-term treatment. Most cases require drainage of the excess fluid. The most effective treatment is surgical insertion of a shunt. The shunt is a flexible, plastic tube with a one-way valve. The shunt is inserted into the
ventricular system of the brain to divert the flow of CSF into another area of the body, where the CSF can drain and be absorbed into the bloodstream.
The shunt is tunneled under the skin and carries the cerebrospinal fluid into another area of the body, such as the abdomen, where it can be absorbed. The shunt may need to be replaced periodically as a child grows or if an infection develops or the shunt becomes blocked. In some cases of non-communicating hydrocephalus, a direct connection can be made between one of the ventricles and the subarachnoid space, allowing drainage without a shunt. Installation of a shunt requires lifelong monitoring by the patient or family members for signs of recurring hydrocephalus due to obstruction or failure of the shunt.
Some drugs may postpone the need for surgery by inhibiting the production of CSF. These include acetazolamide and furosemide. Other drugs used to delay surgery include glycerol, digoxin, and isosorbide.
Some people with obstructive hydrocephalus can be treated with a technique called ventriculostomy in which a neurosurgeon makes an incision at the site of the blockage to allow cerebrospinal fluid to drain. Surgeons also are experimenting with surgical repair of congenital hydrocephalus while the fetus is still inside the mother.
More information on hydrocephalus
What is hydrocephalus? - Hydrocephalus is the lack of absorption, blockage of flow, or overproduction of the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) that is found inside of the ventricles inside of the brain.
What causes hydrocephalus? - Hydrocephalus can be broadly classified as being caused by disturbance to normal production, flow or absorption of cerebrospinal fluid.
What're the symptoms of hydrocephalus? - The symptoms of hydrocephalus include irritability, fatigue, seizures, and personality changes, drowsiness, and double vision.
How is hydrocephalus diagnosed? - Hydrocephalus may be diagnosed before birth by prenatal ultrasound, a diagnostic imaging technique which uses high-frequency sound waves.
What's the treatment for hydrocephalus? - Treatment of hydrocephalus depends on its cause. Medications are used to slow the rate of cerebrospinal fluid production temporarily.