Hydrocephalus in infants and adults

It is a little known condition in which excess cerebrospinal fluid dilates the ventricles of the brain and damages its tissues.

But what is cerebrospinal fluid and what is it for? It is a vital fluid for brain tissue that serves to transport nutrients to the brain and compensates for changes in blood volume. When it does not function properly, hydrocephalus occurs.

There are several types of hydrocephalus:

  • Congenital or acquired. Congenital hydrocephalus is present at birth and develops due to genetic predisposition.
  • Communicating or non-communicating. Non-communicating hydrocephalus occurs when the flow of cerebrospinal fluid is obstructed in one or more of the pathways connecting the ventricles.

Finally, it should be remembered that acquired hydrocephalus affects people of all ages and can appear as a consequence of an injury or disease that causes enlargement of the ventricles.

One of the most common causes is aqueductal stenosis. It affects one in every 11,000 births and causes obstruction of the aqueduct of Sylvius, a duct that joins the third and fourth ventricles in the middle of the brain.

Another cause is Arnold-Chiari malformation or tumors and/or scarring resulting from meningitis.

Hydrocephalus in adults

There are two forms of hydrocephalus that occur in adults:

  1. Ex vacuo: occurs when there is brain damage caused by cerebrovascular disease or traumatic injury.
  2. Normal pressure: is associated with other symptoms such as gait disturbance, urinary incontinence, memory loss and a reduction in normal daily activity.