Last edited 01/2023 and last reviewed 01/2023
“Hydrocephalus” a greek word made up of two words ‘‘hydro’’(water), and ‘‘cephalus’’ ( head), is a condition characterised by an abnormal build up of cerebro spinal fluid (CSF) in the brain ventricles (1).
- accumilation of CSF is thought to be due to an imbalance between production and absorption of CSF with subsequent enlargement of brain ventricles
Proposed definitions of hydrocephalus is:
‘‘Hydrocephalus is an active distension of the ventricular system of the brain resulting from the inadequate passage of cerebrospinal fluid from its point of production within the cerebral ventricles to its point of absorption into the systemic circulation.’’
Another condition, hydrocephalus ex vacuo, manifests as enlarged ventricles because of destruction of cerebral tissue and the consequent expansion of the ventricles.
It has been noted that in women at risk for preterm delivery, antenatal glucocorticoids and magnesium sulfate has reduced incidence of germinal matrix haemorrhage, a leading cause of childhood (infantile) hydrocephalus (3)
- (1) Orešković D1, Klarica M. Development of hydrocephalus and classical hypothesis of cerebrospinal fluid hydrodynamics: facts and illusions. Prog Neurobiol. 2011;94(3):238-58
- (2) Kandasamy J, Jenkinson MD, Mallucci CL. Contemporary management and recent advances in paediatric hydrocephalus. BMJ. 2011;343:d4191
- (3) Whitehead WE, Weiner HL. Infantile and Childhood Hydrocephalus. N Engl J Med 2022; 387:2067-2073.
head shape or size abnormalities - NICE guidance - suspected neurological conditions - recognition and referral