What Is It?
Hydrocephalus, also known as "water on the brain," is a condition in which there is extra cerebrospinal fluid around the brain and spinal cord. Cerebrospinal fluid acts as a cushion for the brain and spinal cord, supplies nutrients, and takes away waste products.
Hydrocephalus can be present at birth (congenital) or can develop later (acquired).
Hydrocephalus can be classified according to its cause:
Another type of hydrocephalus, called normal pressure hydrocephalus is an acquired type of communicating hydrocephalus in which the ventricles are enlarged but not under high pressure. Normal pressure hydrocephalus is seen in older adults. It may be the result of injury or illness, but in the majority of cases the cause is unknown.
Premature infants born before 34 weeks or weighing less than 4 pounds have a higher risk of blood vessels bleeding in the brain. Severe bleeding can lead to acquired hydrocephalus, communicating or non-communicating, depending on the site and extent of the bleeding.
Page 1 of 9 Next Page: Hydrocephalus Symptoms
From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.
You can find more great health information on the Harvard Health Publications website.