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Hydrocephalus (dropsy) of the brain – causes, symptoms, treatment

A disease characterized by the accumulation of a large volume of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the ventricular system and subarachnoid space of the brain, called hydrocephalus. The choroid plexus of the brain ventricles produce the cerebrospinal fluid that moves between them, falls into the subarachnoid space of the brain (the brain and spinal cord), and then is absorbed back into the blood stream.

Malfunction of any of the links liquorforblood system leads to fluid retention and development of dropsy of the brain, untimely diagnosis and treatment, which can lead to death due to damage to brain tissue. Statistics indicate that hydrocephalus is often congenital, but in certain circumstances, of Contracting this dreadful disease can people of any age.

Hydrocephalic syndrome (water on the brain) video:

The causes of dropsy of the brain

The development of hydrocephalus in children and adults triggered by various reasons.

The factors causing the disease in utero

Thanks to modern research it is possible to determine the presence of hydrocephalus in the fetus in the second and third trimester. The reasons for the development of the disease in the fetus can be:

  • various infections (toxoplasmosis, cytomegalovirus or herpes infection);
  • anomalies of the Central nervous system,
  • genetic pathology.

In order to avoid the development of hydrocephalus in the fetus during the period of pregnancy planning is necessary to pass all the necessary examinations and cure chronic infection, which can cause the development of disease in the unborn child. Throughout pregnancy is not necessary to avoid routine ultrasound examinations, they will not harm, but will help to detect deviations from the norm.

Causes of congenital hydrocephalus

According to statistics, dropsy of the brain found in each of the five hundredth baby, representing 0.2% of all newborns. The cause of the disease can be:

• the vices and anomalies of development of the brain and spinal cord formed in utero;
• infectious diseases, transferred to the future mother during pregnancy;
• birth trauma, accompanied by hemorrhage in the subarachnoid space or the ventricular system of the brain, complicated by the development of meningitis (often these abnormalities occur in preterm babies);
• tumors of spinal cord and brain (both malignant and

The types of hydrocephalus of the brain

Classification of disease is carried out according to several parameters – the placeaccumulation of CSF at the time of occurrence, the stages of development, by type of violation of circulation spinal fluid (pathogenesis), the rate of flow and by the force of the fluid pressure.

At the time of occurrence can distinguish primary (congenital) and secondary (acquired) forms of the disease. The level of fluid pressure the following types of hydrocephalus — hypertension (high blood pressure), hypotensive (low) and normotensive.

The site of accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) there are the following types of hydrocephalus:

  1. Internal – CSF accumulates in the ventricles of the brain.
  2. External — excessive amount of fluid retained in the subarachnoid space.
  3. The total delay of CSF both in the ventricles and in the subarachnoid (subarachnoid) space.

At all stages of development we can speak about the following forms of acquired hydrocephalus:

  1. Progressive or asthma is a disease in the active stage, characterized by increased pressure of the CSF and pronounced symptoms.
  2. Offset – intracranial pressure is normal but the ventricles are dilated.
  3. Subcompencirovanna – intracranial pressure normalized, but there is a risk of relapse.
  4. Atrophy – ventricles of brain and subarachnoid space is enlarged, and the tissues of the brain begin to develop atrophic processes.

On the pathogenesis of hydrocephalus can be divided into the following types:

  1. Outdoor (internal) or occlusive — cause of its development is a violation of the free circulation of CSF and its delay in one two or all four ventricles. It can only eliminate it surgically removing the obstacle to the passage of spinal fluid.
  2. Closed (external) or disrtibution – develops due to violations ways to suction fluid into the blood stream.
  3. Gipersecretornye (combined) – develops as a result of increased production of spinal fluid.

Depending on the rate of course it is possible to allocate three forms of hydrocephalus:

  1. Acute – from the first symptoms to development of severe decompensated form is 2-3 days.
  2. Subacute or progressive – the disease duration up to 30 days.
  3. Chronic – can last from three weeks to six months.

The symptoms of dropsy of the brain

Clinical signs of the disease depend directly on the age of the patient.

Signs of congenital hydrocephalus in newborns and children under one year

The main feature of the development of the disease in the infant increase the volume of the skull depending onthe severity of the disease. Other symptoms of hydrocephalus in children under one year can be:

  • periodic tilting the head back,
  • bulging and pulsation of the Fontanelle,
  • the appearance of tremor and convulsions,
  • the displacement of one or both eyes
  • too pale skin.

The child is lethargic, does not eat, he is Moody and irritable, you may experience slow fusion of the skull bones. Hydrocephalus, discovered at an early age, it is better to treat.

For early diagnosis of dropsy of the brain is necessary every month to visit family and conduct measurements in the head circumference of the baby, the rate of increase of its size, must comply with the schedule.

Symptoms of hydrocephalus in adults

Clinical manifestations of acute and chronic forms of the disease differ considerably.

In acute dropsy of the brain symptoms caused by

Diagnosis of hydrocephalus

The diagnosis of hydrocephalus, the doctor can make, based on clinical manifestations of disease, medical history, fundus examination and results of investigations such as:

  • neurosonography – ultrasound examination of the brain and litwareproposal system using thin sections of the bones of children's skulls, used in children up to 2 years;
  • Methods of treatment of hydrocephalus

    The choice of methods of treatment of the disease depends on the form of the disease, the severity of its clinical manifestations and the patient's condition. To eliminate the cause of the disease is possible only by surgical methods and conservative treatment can stabilize the disease and is used at the initial stages.

    Conservative treatment

    For the treatment of dropsy of the brain the following drugs: Cerepro, gliatilin, asparkam, diacarb, Vinpocetine, Karsavin, tencel, Cavinton, solcoseryl. The choice of drugs, their dosages and durations of treatment have to do doctor, nepravilno selected products can harm the body.

    Surgical treatment

    Unfortunately, conservative treatment can only slow or stop the progression of the disease, to cure it fundamentally possible by means of surgical treatment. Past for the treatment of hydrocephalus used the bypass, the survey there was a high risk of complications, the shunt needed to be replaced every few years, and the patient depended on his work. Razvitiie new methods allowed to refuse primenena bypass surgery.

    Modern neurosurgeons are mainly used technique is endoscopic surgery. Advantages of this treatment are:

    • no need to introduce a foreign body into the structures of the brainof the brain;
    • restore the physiological outflow of cerebrospinal fluid;
    • low risk of complications;
    • low invasiveness of the surgical intervention.

    Open drainage is impractical to use, since this type of surgery can lead to the development of many complications. This method is shown in a few cases it is impossible to apply another treatment.

    Moderate outer substitution hydrocephalus in the absence of complaints does not need treatment. In this form of the disease need to regularly visit your doctor and undergo the recommended examination, not to miss even a slight increase in the volume of cerebrospinal fluid.