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Hydrocephalus Treatment

Hydrocephalus is a condition that may be inherited or acquired. Congenital hydrocephalus may be present at birth, caused by influences that may have occurred during development, or through genetic abnormalities. Acquired hydrocephalus may develop at time of birth or anytime in life, affecting individuals of all ages. Some questions can arise such as can hydrocephalus in adults be caused by injury? Could recognizing hydrocephalus symptoms lead to an early diagnosis aiding in hydrocephalus treatment?

What is hydrocephalus?

Hydrocephalus was derived from the Greek words; “hydro" meaning water and "cephalus" meaning head. A condition in which there is excessive fluid in and around the brain. Once known as “water on the brain”. This may occur when the cerebral spinal fluid has restriction of flow, an overproduction of fluids or lack of absorption. Excessive accumulation of fluids may result in an abnormal widening of spaces in the brain called ventricles; this may create pressure on the tissues of the brain. These fluids made inside the ventricles of the brain are normally dispersed around the brain and spinal cord. An Expert has answered question about hydrocephalus and its symptoms below.

If diagnosed with hydrocephalus, how long is it safe to wait before seeking medical assistance?

If one were asymptomatic then this may not justify an emergency situation. An emergency situation may occur when a CT scan (CAT SCAN) or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) would show obstructive hydrocephalus or an acute hydrocephalus. One then may be anxious to see a specialist in the field for hydrocephalus treatment.

When diagnosed with adult hydrocephalus, experiencing symptoms of confusion and limping, along with high levels of carbon monoxide detected, could shunt placement relieve these symptoms?

Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus can be difficult to diagnose and treat. This is a condition where the pressure in the ventricles of the brain is increased. With treatment involving shunting, the cerebrospinal fluid from the ventricles may result in the brain being less compressed, and therefor increase functionality. Symptoms, thought to occur may include difficulty in walking, dementia, and urinary incontinence. If one experienced all three, then a diagnostic lumbar puncture to reduce fluid in and around the brain may be an option to improve one’s symptoms.

Carbon monoxide toxicity can show similar signs to symptoms of hydrocephalus; so one may not show improvement during the "test" lumbar puncture, and shunting. Diagnostics for brain effects from carbon monoxide may be checked by a scan to look at brain metabolism.

Can hydrocephaluses cause loss of taste and smell?

A classic list of symptoms of hydrocephalus may include dementia, walking problems, and urine incontinence. Loss of smell and taste is not a common side effect associated with hydrocephalus. The loss of smell can affect taste and they may be a sign of the dementia, as it may also be a side affected known to Alzheimer’s patients.

An infant that was diagnosed with hydrocephalus, will cerebral function improve as pressure comes off the brain due to placement of the shunt?

An Expert with access to CT scans and EEG imaging, allowing a better understanding of the child’s brain development, would be better prepared to give a prognosis. Though the stunt may improve the cerebral function, with underlying brain developmental issues, the prognosis may be poor.

Hydrocephalus is a condition that may be inherited or acquired. Congenital hydrocephalus may be present at birth, caused by influences that may have occurred during development, or through genetic abnormalities. Acquired hydrocephalus may develop at time of birth or anytime in life. Affecting individuals of all ages, hydrocephalus in adults may be caused by injury or disease. Recognizing hydrocephalus symptoms could lead to an early diagnosis aiding in an individual’s hydrocephalus treatment. Ask an Expert for more answers pertaining to hydrocephalus treatment.

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Recent Hydrocephalus Questions

  • I recently visited the ER for several fainting episodes and

    I recently visited the ER for several fainting episodes and a prolonged fever over 101. The attending PA ordered a head CT to rule out a brain bleed. She didn't even tell me about the possibility of atrophy revealed in the report! I discovered it on my own looking at my test results online. Now I am terrified I have Pick's Disease or something else horrible. I am a 34-yr-old female,by the way, with a history of lupus, depression, anemia, and anorexia. Here is the radiologist's report in its entirety:

    *RADIOLOGY REPORT*

    Clinical Data: Near-syncope while showering. Fever.

    CT HEAD WITHOUT CONTRAST

    Technique: Contiguous axial images were obtained from the base of
    the skull through the vertex without contrast

    Comparison: None.

    Findings: The brain has and unremarkable appearance without
    evidence for hemorrhage, acute infarction, hydrocephalus, or mass
    lesion. There is no extra axial fluid collection. The skull and
    paranasal sinuses are normal. Slight prominence of the CSF spaces
    could represent premature atrophy. Correlate clinically.

    IMPRESSION: No acute intracranial findings. Question mild
    premature atrophy.

    I have an appointment with a neurologist scheduled for July 10th, but I can barely function I am so worried. I have no symptoms of neurological disease.
  • MRIs of Brain completed

    My original MRI results on 5/10/14 came back initially reading as: There is no restricted diffusion No evidence for an acute infarct. Sulci fissures and basal cistern are normal. Ventricles are normal in size. There are scattered punctate areas of T2/FLAIR hyperintensity underlying the left dorsal frontal subcortcial white matter (series 8 images 15, 14 & 13). Mild increased signal is seen adjacent to frontal horns and within the periventricular white matter. Findings are non-specific but may be seen in demyelinating disease, post-infections/infammatory processes & vascuitis. There is no mass or extra-axial fluid collection. No abnormal susceptibility artifact on susceptibity weighted images to suggest blood byproducts. There are normal arterial and dural venous sinus flow voids suggesting patency by spin-echo criteria Cerebellar tonsils are in normal position relative to the foramen magnum. Paranasal sinuses, mastoid air cells and middle ear cavities are clear. IMPRESSION: No acute intracranial process. Nonspecific white matter changes within the left frontal lobe and periventricular white matter, a nonspecific finding that may be seen in dymyeinating disease, post-infectious/inflammatory processes and vasculiti. By report, findings appear new since the prior examination; however, these are performed on different magnets. orrelcatoin with prior imaging maybe helpful for further characterization. ADDENDUM TO PRIOR REPORT: This is an addendum: Prior exam completed on 5/13/10 has become available for comparison. Again noted are scattered areas of punctate T2/FLAIR hyperintensity underlying the left superior frontal gyrus & left dorsal frontal subcortial white matter likely underlying left precentral gyrus. Mild high signal is seen adjacent to the frontal horns, right greater than left, on the prior examination. This is more prominent on current examination as these are performed on different magnets with slightly different technique. IMPRESSION: No acute intracranial process. Non-specific white matter changes within the left frontal lobe and periventricular white matter a non-specific finding that may be seen in demyelinating disease, post-infections/inflammatory processes and vasculitis. Findings have not significantly changed since the prior examination.


     


     


    Reason for exams:  I was seen for dizziness/numbness/ataxia on right side of body.  A prior exam was also completed back on 2/26/07 to rule out CVA.  My  whole right side went numb and the right side of my face was drooping/dizziness/numbness.  The said it was NOT belspalsy.


     


    Findings on this report dated 2/26/07:  The brain parenchyma demonstrates normal signal in the gray & white matter.  There is no acute infarction intracranial hemorrage, mass effect, or midline shift.  No hydrocephalus.  The midline structures and the posterior fossa structure are normal.  The paraasal sinuses are clear. The globes are normal  Bilateral internal carotid arteries, basialr artery, and bilateral vertebral arteries demonstrate normal flow voids. 



    IMPRESSION:  MRI of brai are normal.


     


     


    Reading of the 5/14/10 MRI - that was used to compare w/the most current MRI on 5/10/14:


     


    There are a few punctate foci o the high T2 singal in the subcortial white matter of the left frontal lobe,  non-specific in nature.  There is no evidence of acute infraction, hemorrhage, mass, or hydrocephalus.  No shift of the midline structures is seen.  Midline and posterior fossa structure show no significant abnormality.  Brain stem shows normal signal characteristics.  Normal flow voids are seen in the basilar and bilateral internal carotid arteries at the skull base.  Visualized paranasal sinuses, mastoids and the orbit show no significant abnormality.  There are no significant change in the findings compared to prior exam.


     


    IMPRESSION:


     


    Essentially normal noncontrast MRI of the brain.

  • This was my MRI....what would you do for next steps? How likely

    This was my MRI....what would you do for next steps? How likely do you think this is MS? My symptoms are blurry right eye. Burning/watering left eye. Hand Tremors, a lot of memory problems and problems "finding my words" when I'm speaking.

    Findings: Diffusion-weighted sequence is negative for acute infarct. 3 or 4 periventricular lesions and at least 1 peripheral subcortical white matter lesion. The pattern is suspicious for multiple schlerosis. Please correlate clinically. No evidence of posterior fossa brain lesion. Brain volume is normal. No evidence of obstructive hydrocephalus. No evidence of hemorrhagic change in the brain parenchyma on the GRE technique.

    IMpression: Multiple primarily periventricular white matter lesions most suspicious for demyelinating disease. Vasculopathy not excluded as a cause.
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