Hydrocephalus - The Basics

Chase Goerish, Hour 7

A Brief Summary

Hydrocephalus is an incurable(not untreatable) medical condition. It is defined as a buildup of fluid inside the skull that leads to brain swelling. It is due to a problem with the flow of a fluid called CSF (Cerebrospinal Fluid). CSF surrounds the brain and spinal cord, and helps cushion the brain. The term Hydrocephalus is derived from the greek words "hydro" meaning water and "cephalus" meaning head. It is most commonly treated with the use of a shunt (a flexible tube) that is inserted into the brain and will reroute the CSF to another area of the body where it can be absorbed.
Big image


Board, A.D.A.M. Editorial. "Hydrocephalus." Hydrocephalus. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 13 Nov. 2012. Web. 20 Feb. 2013. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002538/>.

"Hydrocephalus Fact Sheet." : National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). National Institure of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Feb. 2008. Web. 20 Feb. 2013. <http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/hydrocephalus/detail_hydrocephalus.htm>.

"Hydrocephalus Symptoms, Causes and Effects." Hydrocephalus Symptoms, Causes, Effects. Lansing Neurosurgery, 2012. Web. 20 Feb. 2013. <http://www.lansingneurosurgery.com/conditions/brain-vascular-conditions/hydrocephalus>.

"HyFI -- Facts." HyFI -- Facts. Hydrocephalus Foundation, Inc., n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2013. <http://www.hydrocephalus.org/facts.htm>.

Staff, Mayo Clinic. "Hydrocephalus: Causes." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 13 Sept. 2011. Web. 20 Feb. 2013. <http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hydrocephalus/DS00393/DSECTION=causes>.

Interpersonal Communication


Even though you will probably find out the disease when you are a child, talking to your parents can be helpful in organizing appointments with your doctor or a neurosurgeon.


Neurosurgeons are the group of surgeons who cover this disease, and are very knowledgeable in the topic. Talking to a neurosurgeon can help you learn what hydrocephalus is, how it will affect you, and help you treat it by scheduling a surgery.

Advances in Treatment

Media Influences

Hydrocephalus Awareness Infomercial
A video informing people of Hydrocephalus
What is Hydrocephalus and how can you help?
Another informative video explaining what Hydrocephalus is and how you can help
Living with Spina Bifida (July 16, 2012) CTV Edmonton
A video taken from a news broadcast where a family is trying to create awareness for Hydrocephalus and Spina Bifida

Immediate Effects of Hydrocephalus

  • Headaches
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle Spasms

Long Term Effects of Hydrocephalus (If not treated)

  • Death
  • Nerve Damage
  • Intellectual Impairment


New Treatment

Benjamin Warf, MD, developed called endoscopic third ventriculostomy/choroid plexus cauterization (ETC/CPC) that can be used to relieve pressure rather than inserting a shunt into the skull.

New Ways to Measure Brain Pressure

Children's neurosurgeon Joseph Madsen, MD, is creating a system to noninvasively measure pressure inside the skulls of patients with hydrocephalus rather than having to go inside the skull to measure the pressure.