Hydrocephalus is the accumulation of fluid on the brain. The excess fluid places pressure on the brain which results to damage. If this is not treated, it can be deadly.
The damage to the brain can trigger a variety of symptoms including:
- Feeling of being sick
- Difficulty walking
- Blurry vision
What is the cause?
In the previous years, hydrocephalus was often called as “water on the brain”. Nevertheless, the brain is not enclosed by water but by the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).
This fluid has 3 main functions such as:
- Protecting the brain from damage
- Removal of waste products from the brain
- Supplying the brain with nutrients essential for optimum functioning
It is important to note that the brain continuously generates new CSF, usually a pint in a day while the old fluid is generated from the brain and taken into the blood vessels. Once this process is disrupted, the amount of CSF can rapidly buildup which places pressure on the brain.
Management of hydrocephalus
Hydrocephalus is generally treated with the placement of a shunt which is a thin tube that is implanted surgically in the brain. It helps drain away the excess fluid.
An endoscopic third ventriculostomy can oftentimes be utilized as an alternative to shunt surgery. During the procedure, a hole is created in the floor of the brain to enable the confined CSF to leak to the surface where it is absorbed.