Hydrocephalus is a build-up of fluid in the brain cavity that increases the pressure on the brain. In infants and children, hydrocephalus causes the head to enlarge. Whereas in adults, this condition can cause severe headaches.

Cerebrospinal fluid is produced by the brain continuously, and is absorbed by the blood vessels. Its function is very important, including protecting the brain from injury, maintaining pressure on the brain, and removing metabolic waste from the brain. Hydrocephalus occurs when the production and absorption of brain fluid is unbalanced.

Hydrocephalus can happen to anyone, but is more often experienced by babies and people aged 60 and over.

Causes of Hydrocephalus

Hydrocephalus is caused by an imbalance between the production and absorption of fluid in the brain. As a result, the fluid in the brain is too much and makes the pressure in the head increase . This condition can be caused by several factors, namely:

  • Clogged flow of cerebrospinal fluid
  • The production of brain fluid is faster than its absorption
  • Disease or injury to the brain, which affects the absorption of cerebrospinal fluid

Hydrocephalus can occur in babies during the delivery process, or a few moments after birth. There are several factors that can affect the condition, including:

  • Bleeding in the brain due to premature birth
  • Abnormal development of the brain and spine that blocks the flow of cerebrospinal fluid
  • Infections during pregnancy that can trigger inflammation in the fetal brain, such as rubella or syphilis
  • Congenital abnormalities, such as Dandy-Walker syndrome

In addition, there are several factors that can increase the risk of hydrocephalus at all ages, namely:

  • Tumors in the brain and spinal cord
  • Bleeding in the brain due to head injury or stroke
  • Infections in the brain and spinal nerves, such as meningitis
  • Injury or impact to the head that impacts the brain

Symptoms of Hydrocephalus

Hydrocephalus in babies is characterized by a rapidly growing head circumference. In addition, there will be a lump that feels soft on the top of the head.

In addition to changes in the size of the head, symptoms of hydrocephalus that can be experienced by babies with hydrocephalus are:

  • Fussy
  • Easy to sleepy
  • Don't want to breastfeed
  • Vomiting
  • Stunted growth
  • Convulsions

In children, adults, and the elderly, the symptoms of hydrocephalus that appear depend on the age of the sufferer. The symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Decreased memory and concentration
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Visual impairment
  • Disorders of body coordination
  • Balance disorder
  • Difficulty holding urine
  • Head enlargement

Hydrocephalus that is not treated immediately can cause disruption in the physical and intellectual development of children. In adults, delayed treatment of hydrocephalus can cause symptoms to become permanent.

When should you go to the doctor?

Medical examination should be done immediately on children and adults who experience some of the above symptoms.

Immediately seek medical help if the baby shows a number of the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty breastfeeding or eating
  • Frequent vomiting for no known reason
  • Crying with a shrill voice
  • Lie straight and refuse to move your head
  • Shortness of breath
  • Convulsions

Diagno s is Hydrocephalus

Hydrocephalus in babies can be seen from the shape of their enlarged head. Whereas in adult patients, hydrocephalus can be detected by doctors through questioning and answering about the symptoms experienced followed by a physical examination.

Next, the doctor will perform a scan with USG, CT scan , or MRI. The scan aims to confirm the diagnosis, find out the cause of hydrocephalus, and detect the possibility of other conditions related to the patient's symptoms.

Hydrocephalus treatment _

Hydrocephalus is treated with surgery. The purpose is to restore and maintain the level of fluid in the brain. The operating methods that are usually applied to hydrocephalus patients are:

O shunt installation process

The VP shunt operation is the procedure of installing a special valve ( s hunt ) inside the head. The purpose of the shunt is to drain brain fluid to other parts of the body so that it can be easily absorbed into the bloodstream. The part of the body chosen to drain brain fluid is the abdominal cavity.

Some sufferers of hydrocephalus need a shunt for the rest of their lives. Because of this, routine checks need to be done to ensure that the shunt is working properly.

Endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV)

ETV is done by making a new hole in the brain cavity so that the fluid in the brain can flow out. This procedure is often applied to hydrocephalus caused by a blockage in the brain cavity.

Prevention of Hydrocephalus

Hydrocephalus is a condition that is difficult to prevent. However, the risk of hydrocephalus can be avoided by doing some of the following:

  • Do routine pregnancy tests during pregnancy.
  • Wear a seat belt when driving a car.
  • Use a helmet when cycling or riding a motorbike.
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