How do I know if my 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.

At what age is hydrocephalus diagnosed?

Hydrocephalus can occur at any age, but is most common in infants and adults age 60 and older. It affects adult males and females, as well as people of different races, about equally. Experts believe that normal-pressure hydrocephalus accounts for five to six percent of all dementia cases.

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.

What happens when a baby has hydrocephalus?

The impact of hydrocephalus on a newborn is somewhat unpredictable and can vary in severity. Because it injures the brain, children with hydrocephalus may have epilepsy, learning disabilities, short-term memory loss, problems with coordination, vision problems, and early onset of puberty.

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How do you treat a baby with hydrocephalus?

7 Tips for Caring for a Child with Hydrocephalus

  1. Build a Support Network. …
  2. Learn How to Monitor a Shunt. …
  3. Do Not Let Them Play with Magnets. …
  4. Pay Close Attention to Their Development. …
  5. Be Aware That They May Need Special Education. …
  6. Recognize Emergencies. …
  7. Teach Your Child About Hydrocephalus.

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How long do babies with hydrocephalus live?

What is the life expectancy of a child who has hydrocephalus? Children often have a full life span if hydrocephalus is caught early and treated. Infants who undergo surgical treatment to reduce the excess fluid in the brain and survive to age 1 will not have a shortened life expectancy due to hydrocephalus.

Can hydrocephalus go away on its own?

It does not go away on its own and needs special treatment. Hydrocephalus is due to the accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the cavities deep within the brain.

Can a baby outgrow hydrocephalus?

Though the majority of these babies will eventually need the traditional shunt when they grow older, many will never need another intervention. “Now,” Ahn says, “we can treat these babies so that they can outgrow their hydrocephalus and never need a shunt at all, which is a tremendous victory.”

What causes hydrocephalus in infants?

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.

What causes babies to be born with hydrocephalus?

When hydrocephalus is congenital, it may be the result of a condition like spina bifida, where the baby’s spine does not form normally, or aqueductal stenosis, a narrowing of the passage between the third and fourth ventricles in the brain. Hydrocephalus may also be caused by a genetic disorder.

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How common is pediatric hydrocephalus?

Hydrocephalus is one of the most common pediatric neurological problems and occurs in about 1 in 1,000 children.

Can babies with hydrocephalus 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.

Is hydrocephalus a disability?

Shunts may drain too little CSF, in which case the symptoms of hydrocephalus get worse. A diagnosis of hydrocephalus is not enough to “automatically” qualify for Long-Term Disability (LTD) benefits under either the Social Security Disability (SSDI) program or under an employer-provided group disability plan (ERISA).

What is the main cause of hydrocephalus?

Hydrocephalus is caused by an imbalance between how much cerebrospinal fluid is produced and how much is absorbed into the bloodstream. Cerebrospinal fluid is produced by tissues lining the ventricles of the brain. It flows through the ventricles by way of interconnecting channels.

Can you breastfeed a baby with hydrocephalus?

Yes. Please ask your baby’s nurse about ways to interact with and care for your baby. If you had planned to breastfeed your baby, you can begin to pump and freeze breast milk while you are still in the hospital.

What is the main cause of cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy is usually caused by injury to the developing brain before, during, or shortly after childbirth. Damage to different parts of the brain can result in different types of cerebral palsy. Brain damage can cause problems with motor control, coordination, and balance.

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