how much do you know about hydrocephalus ii

Last time, our blog started exploring the potentially serious condition known as hydrocephalus, which occurs when cerebral spinal fluid is unable to drain properly and begins to pool inside the skull. Specifically, we discussed how hydrocephalus can result in swelling of the head that, if left untreated, can result in brain damage or even death in babies.

In today’s post, we’ll discuss how hydrocephalus can be present at birth and some of the telltale signs of the condition.

What are some of the causes of hydrocephalus?

According to medical professionals, if hydrocephalus is present at birth it can be attributed to several causes, including:

  • Spina bifida, which causes the spinal cord to develop abnormally
  • Aqueductal stenosis, which is the narrowing of the cerebral aqueduct, a small vessel that connects two primary brain ventricles

Hydrocephalus can also develop at birth via cranial hemorrhage. Children who suffer traumatic head injuries or who are born prematurely are considered to be the most at risk.

It must be noted, however, that these are not the exclusive causes of hydrocephalus and that it can sometimes develop without any known cause.

What are some of the telltale signs of hydrocephalus among babies?

In general, babies with hydrocephalus will have abnormally shaped heads that are much larger than those in their age group. This phenomenon can be attributed to the fact that babies’ heads have what are known as sutures, meaning bands of fibrous tissue that hold together the skull bones that have yet to fuse.

Here, the elastic nature of these sutures causes them to stretch when an excess amount of CSF is present, resulting in a swollen, larger appearance of the head.

Some of the other physical symptoms of hydrocephalus can include a sudden jump in head circumference, visibly swollen veins, bulging at the soft spots and the eyes looking downward.

In our next post, we’ll explore some of the diagnostic tools available to physicians and the primary procedures through which the condition can be treated.

If you suspect that medical negligence has caused your child to suffer a serious birth injury, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible to learn more about securing the justice your family deserves.

Source: KidsHealth, “Hydrocephalus,” Accessed Feb. 23, 2015

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