Hydrocephalus causes

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Syed Ahsan Hussain, M.D.[2]


Hydrocephalus is caused by impaired cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flow, impaired CSF reabsorption, or excessive CSF production. Brain hemorrhage associated with premature birth is a common cause.


Common Causes

Causes by Organ System

  • The causes of hydrocephalus according to system is given below:[2][4][1]
Cardiovascular Rupture of a vascular malformation, Venous thrombosis, Congenital rubella syndrome, Cerebral aneurysm, Cerebral arteriovenous malformation, Cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, Cerebrovascular disease
Chemical / poisoning No underlying causes
Dermatologic Congenital cytomegalovirus infection, Congenital varicella syndrome
Drug Side Effect Clomifene , Cytarabine liposome
Ear Nose Throat Balance disorder
Endocrine No underlying causes
Environmental Fetal alcohol syndrome
Gastroenterologic Mucopolysaccharidosis
Genetic Achondroplasia, Aicardi syndrome, Alexander Disease, Aquaductal stenosis, Bickers-Adams syndrome, Dandy-Walker Malformation, Frontal lobe dementia, Huntington's Disease, Incomplete development of the Magendie or Luschka formamina, Pretzel Syndrome, Rupture of a vascular malformation, Tuberous sclerosis,Walker-Warburg syndrome, HEC syndrome, Pick's disease, Muscular dystrophy, Lissencephaly
Hematologic No underlying causes
Iatrogenic Empty Sella Syndrome, Prior posterior fossa surgery, Frontal Lobe Syndromes
Infectious Disease Brain abscess, Congenital cytomegalovirus infection, Congenital rubella syndrome, Congenital toxoplasmosis, Congenital varicella syndrome, Cysticercosis, Mumps virus, Tuberculous meningitis,Encephalitis, Meningitis, Subdural empyema, TORCH infections
Musculoskeletal / Ortho Muscular dystrophy, Achondroplasia, Pretzel Syndrome
Neurologic Alzheimer's Disease, Arachnoid cyst, Arnold-Chiari Malformation, Brain herniation, Brain Stem Gliomas, Brain tumor, Cerebellar Infarction, Cerebral aneurysm, Cerebral arteriovenous malformation, Cerebral hypoxia, Cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, Cerebrovascular disease, Chiasmal Syndrome, Choroid plexus papilloma, Colloid cyst, Colpocephaly, Craniopharyngioma, Craniostenoses, Encephalitis, Encephalocele,Ependymoma, Epidural hematoma,Glioblastoma Multiforme, Hydranencephaly, Hypothalamicglioma,Iniencephaly, Intracranial hemorrhage, Intraventricular hemorrhages, Lissencephaly, Medulloblastoma,Megalocephaly, Meningioma, Meningitis, Multiple cerebral infarctions, Oligodendroglioma, Parinaud's syndrome, Pineal gland cyst, Pinealoma, Pituitary Tumors, Porencephaly, Primary CNS Lymphoma,Pseudotumor cerebri, Schizencephaly, Spina bifida, Subarachnoid hemorrhage, Subdural empyema, Subdural hematoma, Subependymal giant cell astrocytoma, Syringomyelia, Epidural abscess, Pretzel Syndrome, Brain abscess, Congenital toxoplasmosis, Mucopolysaccharidosis, Astrocytoma, Congenital cytomegalovirus infection,Balance disorder
Nutritional / Metabolic Spina bifida
Obstetric/Gynecologic No underlying causes
Oncologic Astrocytoma, Brain Stem Gliomas, Brain tumor, Choroid plexus papilloma, Ependymoma,Glioblastoma Multiforme, Hypothalamic glioma, Medulloblastoma, Meningioma, Oligodendroglioma,Parinaud's syndrome, Pinealoma, Pituitary Tumors, Primary CNS Lymphoma, Subependymal giant cell astrocytoma, Frontal Lobe Syndromes, Optic nerve glioma
Ophthalmologic Balance disorder, Optic nerve glioma, Congenital rubella syndrome, Congenital varicella syndrome
Overdose / Toxicity No underlying causes
Psychiatric No underlying causes
Pulmonary No underlying causes
Renal / Electrolyte No underlying causes
Rheum / Immune / Allergy No underlying causes
Sexual No underlying causes
Trauma Breech birth, Dementia pugilistica, Frontal Lobe Syndromes, Head trauma, Hematoma,Prematurity intraventricular hemorrhage, Shaken baby syndrome, Epidural hematoma, Subdural hematoma
Urologic No underlying causes
Miscellaneous Idiopathic

Causes In Alphabetical Order


  1. 1.0 1.1 Tully HM, Ishak GE, Rue TC, Dempsey JC, Browd SR, Millen KJ, Doherty D, Dobyns WB (March 2016). "Two Hundred Thirty-Six Children With Developmental Hydrocephalus: Causes and Clinical Consequences". J. Child Neurol. 31 (3): 309–20. doi:10.1177/0883073815592222. PMC 4990005. PMID 26184484.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Rekate HL (October 2011). "A consensus on the classification of hydrocephalus: its utility in the assessment of abnormalities of cerebrospinal fluid dynamics". Childs Nerv Syst. 27 (10): 1535–41. doi:10.1007/s00381-011-1558-y. PMC 3175041. PMID 21928019.
  3. . doi:10.1186/1743-8454-5-2. Check |doi= value (help). Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. . doi:10.1186/1743-8454-5-2. Check |doi= value (help). Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. Muthugovindan D, Kossoff EH, Sakonju A, Johnston MV (2009). "Aicardi syndrome mimicking intrauterine hydrocephalus". Brain Dev. 31 (8): 638–40. doi:10.1016/j.braindev.2008.09.012. PMID 19004586. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  6. Pagon RA, Bird TD, Dolan CR, Stephens K, Adam MP, Gorospe JR. PMID 20301351. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. Reinthaller A, Deutinger J (1985). "[X chromosome recessively transmitted hydrocephalus with congenital aqueduct stenosis]". Z Geburtshilfe Perinatol (in German). 189 (5): 244–6. PMID 3907171.
  8. Casmiro M (1998). "Idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus associated with empty sella". Neurosurg Rev. 21 (1): 43–7. PMID 9584285.
  9. Johnson CA, Hill ID, Bowie MD (1984). "Fetal alcohol syndrome with hydrocephalus. A case report". S. Afr. Med. J. 65 (18): 738–9. PMID 6538998. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  10. Lenfeldt N, Larsson A, Nyberg L; et al. (2008). "Idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus: increased supplementary motor activity accounts for improvement after CSF drainage". Brain. 131 (Pt 11): 2904–12. doi:10.1093/brain/awn232. PMID 18931387. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  11. Devi AS, Eisenfeld L, Uphoff D, Greenstein R (1995). "New syndrome of hydrocephalus, endocardial fibroelastosis, and cataracts (HEC syndrome)". Am. J. Med. Genet. 56 (1): 62–6. doi:10.1002/ajmg.1320560114. PMID 7747788. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  12. Gottrand F, Leclerc F, Chenaud M, Vallee L, Gaudier B (1986). "[A rare cause of hydrocephalus in an infant: chronic vitamin A poisoning]". Arch. Fr. Pediatr. (in French). 43 (7): 501–2. PMID 3800561.
  13. Sheridan M, Johnston I (1994). "Hydrocephalus and pseudotumour cerebri in the mucopolysaccharidoses". Childs Nerv Syst. 10 (3): 148–50. PMID 8044807. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  14. Alp H, Tan H, Orbak Z, Keskin H (2005). "Acute hydrocephalus caused by mumps meningoencephalitis". Pediatr. Infect. Dis. J. 24 (7): 657–8. PMID 15999018. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  15. Verhagen JM, Schrander-Stumpel CT, Krapels IP; et al. (2011). "Congenital hydrocephalus in clinical practice: a genetic diagnostic approach". Eur J Med Genet. 54 (6): e542–7. doi:10.1016/j.ejmg.2011.06.005. PMID 21839187.
  16. Verhagen JM, Schrander-Stumpel CT, Krapels IP; et al. (2011). "Congenital hydrocephalus in clinical practice: a genetic diagnostic approach". Eur J Med Genet. 54 (6): e542–7. doi:10.1016/j.ejmg.2011.06.005. PMID 21839187.