Hydrocephalus may be congenital or acquired. Congenital hydrocephalus is present at birth, and may be caused be either environmental influences during fetal development or genetic predisposition. Acquired hydrocephalus develops at the time of birth or at some point afterwards. This type can affect individuals of all ages and may be caused by injury or disease.
Hydrocephalus is the result when the flow of CSF is disrupted when your body doesn't absorb it properly. CSF provides a number of important functions, including acting as a cushion for protection and transporting nutrients to the brain. There are two main causes; obstructive and non-obstructive.
This type of hydrocephalus results from an obstruction within the ventricular system of the brain that prevents CSF from flowing or “communicating” within the brain. The most common type is a narrowing of a channel in the brain that connects two ventricles together.
This type results from problems with the production or absorption of CSF. The most common is caused by bleeding into the subarachnoid space in the brain.
Early symptoms (infants)
* Enlargement of the head
* Bulging fontanels
* Sutures are separated
* Decreased mental function
* Delayed movements
* Difficulty feeding
* Excessive sleepiness
* Brief, shrill, high-pitched cry
* Slow growth (0-5 years)
Tapping with the fingertips on the skull may show abnormal sounds associated with thinning and separation of skull bones.
Scalp veins may appear dilated.
Eyes are depressed.