Hydrocephalus in Children Explained

Hydrocephalus-in-Children-ExplainedHydrocephalus in Children Explained.

Hydrocephalus refers to the excessive accumulation of water inside the head. Under normal circumstances, every living human being produces about half a litre of water inside their head every day..


The water is used to wash the brain and to carry the dirty from metabolism to the blood vessels called venous sinuses where the water is pumped away to. The water is called cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Interestingly, it is actually clear and colourless. It is the same water that is aimed for collection when one is getting a lumbar puncture done. If the water flow passages are blocked or there is increased production of the water or reduced pumping away of the water
into the absorption sites on the venous sinuses, hydrocephalus occurs. The excess fluid gets to be under pressure and causes damage to the brain.

Hydrocephalus occurs in both adults and children. For the purposes of this article, hydrocephalus in children is the focus. There are several causes of hydrocephalus.
Some children are born with it while others get it after birth. Blockages of flow of water which occurs during development inside the mother’s womb causes hydrocephalus which a patient is born with. Most children with hydrocephalus are thought to get it after birth having been born being normal. The main acquired
cause in these children is infection which spreads to the brain to cause meningitis and hydrocephalus then occurs as there is reduced flow of CSF.

These infections usually occur within the first few days after birth especially when a child is born under unhygienic conditions or the baby’s treatment for a
seemingly mild infection like a cough is delayed. When diagnosed early, hydrocephalus is largely associated with good survival. Delayed presentation is Zimbabwe
is a big problem. This condition initially starts with a child crying inconsolably especially at night with poor weight gain followed by abnormal enlargement of the head which can reach a huge size if not treated early. The head can be so big till the baby cannot support it. Pressure wounds start occurring. The child can also develop cross -eyes with bulging of veins and of the fontanelle. The traditional medicine practice of cleansing the little child’s throat (kugeza nhova) is known to kill or cause irreparable damage to the little child’s brain in the presence of hydrocephalus. It regrettably should not be done. In treatment of hydrocephalus, the most common form is a little operation called ventriculo-peritoneal shunt insertion. A very small tube is inserted into the pool of water in the brain and it runs
down to the abdomen where the water is diverted to and absorption into the blood system and subsequently to the outside through the kidneys occur.

Hydrocephalus in Children Explained