Hydrocephalus natural history

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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]

Overview

Hydrocephalic children are at increased risk of various developmental disabilities such as learning disabilities, visual problems and problems with coordination. Prognosis is poor if left untreated.

Natural History, Complications and Prognosis

  • The natural history and complications, prognosis are given below:[1][2]
  • This depends on the cause of the dialated ventricles
  • Cerebral shunt:The shunt must be implanted through neurosurgery into the patient's brain, a procedure which itself may cause brain damage. An estimated 50% of all shunts fail within two years, requiring further surgery to replace the shunts. In the past 25 years, death rates associated with hydrocephalus have decreased from 54% to 5% and the occurrence of intellectual disability has decreased from 62% to 30%.
  • Because hydrocephalus injures the brain, thought and behavior may be adversely affected. Learning disabilities are common among those with hydrocephalus, who tend to score better on verbal IQ than on performance IQ, which is thought to reflect the distribution of nerve damage to the brain. However, the severity of hydrocephalus differs considerably between individuals and some are of average or above average intelligence. Someone with hydrocephalus may have motivation and visual problems, problems with coordination, and may be clumsy. They may hit puberty earlier than the average child (see precocious puberty). About one in four develops epilepsy.

References

  1. Lindquist B, Carlsson G, Persson EK, Uvebrant P (July 2005). "Learning disabilities in a population-based group of children with hydrocephalus". Acta Paediatr. 94 (7): 878–83. doi:10.1080/08035250510027345. PMID 16188809.
  2. Vinchon M, Rekate H, Kulkarni AV (August 2012). "Pediatric hydrocephalus outcomes: a review". Fluids Barriers CNS. 9 (1): 18. doi:10.1186/2045-8118-9-18. PMC 3584674. PMID 22925451.



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