When do babies develop hydrocephalus?

How does a baby get hydrocephalus?

In some babies the condition is genetic, such as in babies with congenital aqueductal stenosis. Other conditions, such as neural tube defects (like spina bifida), are also associated with hydrocephalus. Other causes include premature birth, infections, tumors or bleeding inside the brain.

Can hydrocephalus be cured in babies?

There is no cure for hydrocephalus, but with timely diagnosis and treatment, children with hydrocephalus can lead normal lives. They will require close care from physicians, neurosurgeons and sometimes neurologists as well.

How can you tell if your baby has hydrocephalus?

The most obvious sign of hydrocephalus in infants is a rapid increase in head circumference or an unusually large head size. Other symptoms may include seizures, vomiting, sleepiness, irritability, or eyes that constantly gaze downward.

What is the most common cause of hydrocephalus in infants?

The most common cause of acquired hydrocephalus in infants is hemorrhage, most often as a consequence of prematurity. Other important causes include neoplasm and infection, usually bacterial meningitis. In these clinical situations, there is little ambiguity about the cause of the hydrocephalus.

When baby’s head is growing too fast?

It’s normal for a baby’s head to grow a lot during the first year. But with congenital hydrocephalus, the head may grow faster than the normal rate for a baby’s height and weight. The condition may cause the soft spot (fontanelle) on your baby’s head to feel firm or bulge out.

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Can hydrocephalus be prevented?

You can’t prevent hydrocephalus, but you can lower your risk and your child’s risk for developing the condition. Make sure you get prenatal care during pregnancy. This can help reduce your chance of going into premature labor, which can lead to hydrocephalus.

When should I be concerned about my baby’s soft spot?

If you notice a bulging fontanelle along with a fever or excessive drowsiness, seek medical attention right away. A fontanelle that doesn’t seem to be closing. Talk with your doctor if your baby’s soft spots haven’t started getting smaller by her first birthday.

Why would a baby need a shunt?

Surgically implanting a shunt in a ventricle is the most common way to treat hydrocephalus in infants and children. A shunt is a small, flexible tube and valve system that allows fluid to drain. It is placed in the ventricle to drain cerebrospinal fluid away from the brain and into the body, where it can be absorbed.

Can hydrocephalus babies walk?

Many children with pediatric hydrocephalus have normal intelligence and physical development, but some may be slower to develop skills such as hand-eye coordination or learning to walk. Some may experience learning problems as they progress in school.

What is the life expectancy of someone with hydrocephalus?

Survival in untreated hydrocephalus is poor. Approximately, 50% of the affected patients die before three years of age and approximately 80% die before reaching adulthood. Treatment markedly improves the outcome for hydrocephalus not associated with tumors, with 89% and 95% survival in two case studies.