The word hydrocephalus is originally a Greek word; hydro means water, cephalus means head. Hydrocephalus is a condition in which there is an accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) within the brain. Common symptoms includes tiredness, headache, difficulties with balance and incontinence.

Hydrocephalus is a condition, not a disease. It can develop for a variety of reasons, sometimes due to complications at birth and sometimes as part of another condition or something which is acquired later in life. Early-born children may also get hydrocephalus after a stroke at the time of birth, others as a result of disease states, tumors or accidents during childhood. Hydrocephalus is also common in combination with spina bifida.

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Hydrocephalus is typically treated by the surgical placement of a so called shunt system.
An implanted shunt diverts CSF from the ventricles within the brain or the subarachnoid spaces around the brain and spinal cord to another body region where it will be absorbed. This reduces the pressure in the nerve system and reduces the inconvenience caused by the condition.

Children who have hydrocephalus from birth or early childhood have more often delayed development and learning challenges compared to children without hydrocephalus. Vision / eye problems are also relatively common. However, it differs a lot from person-to-person, and just like for everyone else it is important to see each person’s different needs and abilities from an individual perspective.

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