What is hydrocephalus?
Hydrocephalus is a condition affecting the brain which develops when complications of a medical condition (like a stroke, tumor, head injury, or even an unknown event), cause fluid in the brain, called CSF, to build up in and around the brain to a dangerous level.
When too much CSF builds up in the head, it typically causes spaces inside the brain (called ventricles) to enlarge, putting pressure on the brain. As the pressure inside the skull continues to increase, terrible headaches, sleepiness, paralysis, dementia, and other difficult symptoms occur. Left untreated, the pressure causes severe headaches, coma, and death.
- Hydrocephalus is a life-threatening condition affecting the brain which afflicts over 1 million Americans.
- Hydrocephalus affects people of every age, from newborn babies and children, to teenagers and the oldest of adults.
- Hydrocephalus is the most common reason for brain surgery in children.
- Hydrocephalus has no cure.
What causes hydrocephalus?
Some people are born with hydrocephalus, while others develop hydrocephalus as a result of brain injury suffered from head trauma, stroke, or brain tumor. Some people develop the condition as they grow older for unknown reasons.
- Kate Finlayson, the person who inspired Team Hydro’s formation, (and also happened to be a swimmer), died from complications of hydrocephalus at age 26, after acquiring the condition as a premature baby. During her short life, she required over 100 surgeries, suffered several strokes, and endured many shunt infections and hospitalizations in an attempt to fight her condition.
- Congresswoman Gabby Giffords developed hydrocephalus after suffering head injury due to gunshot wounds.
- About 1 in every 750 children is born with hydrocephalus.
- It is estimated that 20% of people with alzheimer’s disease really have a misdiagnosed and treatable form of hydrocephalus. This condition found in older adults can be corrected with a shunt.
How is hydrocephalus treated?
The most common treatment remains the surgical insertion of a device, known as a shunt, into the brain to help drain excess fluids into other parts of the body.
- Placement of a shunt to treat hydrocephalus requires BRAIN SURGERY.
- Shunts are wonderful when working properly, but they frequently clog, break, get infected, or simply fail to work–all life threatening emergencies for the shunted person
- A shocking 50% of shunts fail and need to be revised within two years of placement!
Imagine having to undergo brain surgery every few years or more, just to stay alive!
How did Hydrocephalus get its name?
The term hydrocephalus is derived from the Greek words “hydro” meaning water, and “cephalus” meaning head. Hydrocephalus occurs when an abnormal amount of fluid exists in the head. The fluid which causes hydrocephalus is not really water however, but a liquid called cerebral spinal fluid (CSF). CSF normally exists in the brain and spinal cord of all people. People need CSF, as it performs many important purposes in the body, but unfortunately, having too much CSF can make a person very sick, or even die.
Usually the body is capable of making sure just the right amount of CSF is present in the head/brain at all times. But sometimes a person has a condition which prevents the proper flow of CSF from occurring in the brain and spinal cord . When CSF is unable to move through the body normally, too much fluid can become trapped in the brain/skull. As the amount of fluid increases it causes pressure on the brain which causes the person to develop terrible headaches and other symptoms. Without urgent treatment to correct the problem, a person affected with hydrocephalus will likely die.
What are people with hydrocephalus like?
They are wonderful vibrant human beings trying to live happy productive lives just like you. But they live with uncertainty every day knowing that at any moment their shunt could fail requiring immediate surgery.
People with hydrocephalus often suffer daily headaches and other symptoms (seizures, memory loss, motor impairment) despite their shunt working–it is just so hard to manage the pressure in the head to comfortable levels–another reason why more research and treatment options are so desperately needed!
Due to the life-long uncertainty and frequent complications of current hydrocephalus treatments, 60% of children who grow up with hydrocephalus will never live independently.
Why is More Research needed?
Despite the fact that over 1 million Americans currently suffer from hydrocephalus, and are forced to live with its devastating effects, hydrocephalus remains a relatively under-researched condition.
- Shunt technology has improved little since it was pioneered in the 1950’s and remains an imperfect and unreliable solution.
- Shunt operations for hydrocephalus cost over $1 billion a year in the US–yet the NIH funds only $1 million of research.
- About 40,000 shunt-related operations are performed every year in the US for hydrocephalus—that averages out to one every 13 minutes and over 100 every day.
- Shunts are prone to clogging , breakage, infection–treatment complications which are often deadly.
- Much is still unknown about how the brain works and why hydrocephalus develops.
It is hoped that through additional research, non-surgical options for treating hydrocephalus can be found, and that new cases can be prevented from developing in the first place!!!
When too much CSF builds up in the head, it typically causes spaces inside the brain (called ventricles) to enlarge, putting pressure on the brain. As the pressure inside the skull continues to increase, terrible headaches, sleepiness, paralysis, dementia, and other difficult symptoms occur.What are some interesting facts about hydrocephalus? ›
About 1 in every 1000 babies is born with hydrocephalus, a condition in which too much cerebrospinal fluid builds up in the brain's ventricles. Symptoms can include vomiting, lethargy, headache, enlarged head or even seizures. There is no cure, but implanting one of our shunts often provides long-term relief.What is the life expectancy of a person with hydrocephalus? ›
What is the life expectancy of a child who has hydrocephalus? Children often have a full life span if hydrocephalus is caught early and treated. Infants who undergo surgical treatment to reduce the excess fluid in the brain and survive to age 1 will not have a shortened life expectancy due to hydrocephalus.What is Team Hydro? ›
Team Hydro is a group dedicated to raising awareness about and finding a cure for the life-threatening medical condition known as hydrocephalus.Does hydrocephalus get worse with age? ›
Symptoms of Hydrocephalus in Older Adults
In older adults, symptoms usually get worse over time. They can include: Difficulty walking or slow shuffling. Loss of bladder control.
The longest living hydrocephalic is Theresa Alvina Schaan (Canada) who was born on the 17 March 1941 and diagnosed with having congenital hydrocephalus. Also known as "water on the brain," it is a condition in which there is extra cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) around the brain and spinal cord.What are 2 causes of hydrocephalus? ›
- bleeding inside the brain – for example, if blood leaks over the surface of the brain (subarachnoid haemorrhage)
- blood clots in the brain (venous thrombosis)
- meningitis – an infection of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
- brain tumours.
- head injury.
Hydrocephalus that develops in children or adults
The headache may be worse when you wake up in the morning. This is because the fluid in your brain does not drain as well while you're lying down and may have built up overnight. Sitting up for a while may improve the headache.
Any activity that involves being grabbed around the neck is not advised, as the shunt tubing in the neck can crack. Judo may not be advisable, but other martial arts may be safe, depending on what is involved.What are 4 types of hydrocephalus? ›
There are four main types of hydrocephalus: obstructive, communicating, hypersecretory, and NPH. Hydrocephalus may be classified as congenital and acquired.
Hydroelectric energy is power made by moving water. “Hydro” comes from the Greek word for water.What do hydro one do? ›
Hydro One is Ontario's largest electricity transmission and distribution service provider. We distribute electricity across Ontario to nearly 1.4 million predominantly rural customers, or approximately 26% of the total number of customers in Ontario.What powers Hydro One? ›
Hydro One's Current Transmission System Projects In Ontario.
Through it we send vast amounts of electricity from hydroelectric, wind, solar, nuclear, and natural gas generators over long distances to the Local Distribution Companies (LDCs) that power Ontario homes and businesses.
Patients with untreated, advanced NPH may experience seizures, which can get progressively worse. Dementia and/or bladder control problems usually appear after gait disturbances as the condition progresses.Does hydrocephalus affect IQ? ›
Hydrocephalus appears to decrease the IQ further in patients with MMC, although some studies have shown that if it is corrected in early age, the IQ can return to MMC baseline though not to normal levels.Can hydrocephalus cause sudden death? ›
This leads to hydrocephalus, an excess accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid. In extreme cases, acute deterioration can occur, leading to sudden death. Very few such outcomes are known, but it is important to learn how to avoid them.What celebrity has hydrocephalus? ›
“The Partridge Family” alum and radio host Danny Bonaduce opened up about his health, a year after announcing that he was taking time to “focus” on it. In an video published by TMZ on Friday, the 63-year-old actor and wrestler said he has been diagnosed with hydrocephalus, also known as “water on the brain.”Is hydrocephalus considered a disability? ›
Is Hydrocephalus a Disability? Yes, hydrocephalus can be considered a disability by the Social Security Administration (SSA) if you can meet a Blue Book listing.Can you live a normal life with a brain shunt? ›
Many people with normal pressure hydrocephalus enjoy a normal life with the help of a shunt. Regular, ongoing checkups with the neurosurgeon will help ensure that your shunt is working correctly, your progress is on track, and you are free to keep living the way you want.What are three signs of hydrocephalus? ›
- Unusually large head size.
- Rapidly increasing head circumference.
- Bulging and tense fontanelle or soft spot.
- Prominent scalp veins.
- Downward deviation of eyes or sunset sign.
Certain factors can increase the risk of developing hydrocephalus at any age, including: Brain or spinal cord tumors. Infections of the central nervous system such as bacterial meningitis. Injury or stroke that causes bleeding in the brain.Is hydrocephalus Hereditary? ›
It is caused by genetic and non-genetic factors. The most common cause of Congenital hydrocephalus are variations in the L1CAM gene, where there is a narrow passageway between the third and fourth ventricles (aqueductal stenosis).What are behavior issues with hydrocephalus? ›
How hydrocephalus may affect learning and behaviour. Hydrocephalus can affect children's concentration, working memory, understanding of language and their processing of information. All of these, potentially, can have an impact on behaviour. If you can't remember instructions then you won't be able to carry them out.What is the best cure for hydrocephalus? ›
The most common treatment for hydrocephalus is the surgical insertion of a drainage system, called a shunt. It consists of a long, flexible tube with a valve that keeps fluid from the brain flowing in the right direction and at the proper rate.Can hydrocephalus cause mental illness? ›
Normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) is characterized by gait disturbance, dementia and/or urinary incontinence associated with dilation of ventricular system with normal opening cerebrospinal fluid pressure. Wide scientifical evidence confirms association between NPH and psychiatric symptoms.What are the mental effects of hydrocephalus? ›
Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus and Depression
Such NPH symptoms include irritability, fatigue, withdrawal, sadness, and an inability to eat or sleep. Brain imaging studies have shown that depression can be associated with right dominant brain dysfunction.
Conclusions: This study showed the long-term survival rate in children with shunted hydrocephalus was 83%. Furthermore, the patients with congenital hydrocephalus showed better prognosis than other hydrocephalies. Myelomeningocele and infection were the most risk factors of death.What is the largest case of hydrocephalus? ›
1 Till date the largest reported case of hydrocephalus was an Indian child, who was 18 months old when her head grew to a circumference of 94 cm. 2 Here, we present a case of 1 year old male patient with massive hydrocephalus (86 cm head circumference) and discuss the anesthetic consideration.Is hydrocephalus brain damage? ›
Hydrocephalus can permanently damage the brain, causing problems with physical and mental development. If untreated, it is usually fatal. With treatment, many people lead normal lives with few limitations.What is the seriousness of hydrocephalus? ›
Hydrocephalus is a build-up of fluid in the brain. The excess fluid puts pressure on the brain, which can damage it. If left untreated, hydrocephalus can be fatal.
Hydro drug slang used on the streets refers to Hydrocodone so we will refer to Hydrocodone as the hydro drug for the rest of this article. Hydro drug is an opiate or narcotic, comparable to heroin codeine, and morphine.Who invented hydro? ›
Hydropower became an electricity source in the late 19th century, a few decades after British-American engineer James Francis developed the first modern water turbine. In 1882, the world's first hydroelectric power plant began operating in the United States along the Fox River in Appleton, Wisconsin.What is hydro short for? ›
hydro- A prefix that means: “water” (as in hydroelectric) or “hydrogen,” (as in hydrochloride).How does a hydro system work? ›
At the plant level, water flows through a pipe—also known as a penstock—and then spins the blades in a turbine, which, in turn, spins a generator that ultimately produces electricity. Most conventional hydroelectric facilities operate this way, including run-of-the-river systems and pumped storage systems.Who is Hydro One owned by? ›
Who owns Hydro One? The Province is a shareholder of Hydro One with approximately 47.2% ownership at September 30, 2021.Is Hydro One clean energy? ›
Hydro One has a pivotal role to play in transmitting and distributing clean electricity across the province of Ontario.What is the official name of Hydro One? ›
Hydro One Networks Inc.Who are the competitors of Hydro One? ›
Hydro One competitors include Enbridge, Alcoa and Atlantic Power Corporation.What was hydro power in ancient times? ›
The Greeks used water wheels for grinding wheat into flour more than 2,000 years ago, while the Egyptians used Archimedes water screws for irrigation during the third century B.C. The evolution of the modern hydropower turbine began in the mid-1700s when a French hydraulic and military engineer, Bernard Forest de ...Can you fly with hydrocephalus? ›
Flying in a regular commercial jet is fine for most people with shunts. If you were told years ago not to fly, it's worth asking your neurosurgeon again as things have changed. Some people will have been told by their neurosurgeon not to fly, for specific reasons, so do check if this applies to you.
The mortality rate for hydrocephalus and associated therapy ranges from 0 to 3%. This rate is highly dependent on the duration of follow-up care. The shunt event-free survival is approximately 70% at 12 months and is nearly half that at 10 years, post-operatively.Can you outgrow hydrocephalus? ›
Hydrocephalus is a lifelong condition. However, with proper treatment and maintenance, children with hydrocephalus can lead normal lives with few limitations.Is hydrocephalus a risk for COVID? ›
What Should Persons with Hydrocephalus and Their Families Know about COVID-19? Hydrocephalus by itself has not been identified as a risk factor for severe COVID-19. Persons with normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) should consider themselves at high risk for severe COVID-19, but not because they have NPH.Can hydrocephalus lead to autism? ›
6%). Conclusion: The majority of children with hydrocephalus have behavioural problems and many have autism.Are people with hydrocephalus smart? ›
The common outcome of early hydrocephalus is an uneven growth of intelligence during childhood, with nonverbal intelligence developing less well than verbal intelligence.Does hydrocephalus shorten life? ›
Hydrocephalus can be very serious, and even fatal, if left untreated. Fifty percent of those who fail to have their hydrocephalus treated will die. The other half survive with what is called arrested hydrocephalus. Those who are not treated and survive may have serious brain damage and physical disabilities.Can hydrocephalus burst? ›
Occasionally, long-standing tension hydrocephalus can lead to formation of ventricular diverticula or ventricular rupture. It can rupture into cisterns leading to spontaneous ventriculostomy or may rupture through necrotic scalp skin leading to 'spontaneous brain rupture'.Is severe hydrocephalus painful? ›
It is likely that people with hydrocephalus experience specific types of chronic pain (such as abdominal pain) due to the placement of a shunt or due to changes in intracranial pressure (ICP).How rare is hydrocephalus? ›
Hydrocephalus can occur at any age, but is most common in infants and adults age 60 and older. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), hydrocephalus is believed to affect approximately one to two in every 1,000 children born in the U.S.How many people in the world have hydrocephalus? ›
The overall global prevalence of hydrocephalus is approximately 85 per 100,000 individuals with a significant difference between different age groups; 88 per 100,000 for the pediatric population and 11 per 100,000 in adults.
- Martial arts. Any activity that involves being grabbed around the neck is not advised, as the shunt tubing in the neck can crack. ...
- Rugby. ...
- Gymnastics and dance. ...
- Water sports. ...
- Golf. ...
- Other activities.
It is not unheard of for people living with hydrocephalus to have other symptoms or comorbidities (conditions). These could have preceded the diagnosis or appeared well after. Many people have to manage additional health problems including, but not limited to, headaches, chronic pain, and epilepsy.Can you live a full life with hydrocephalus? ›
Hydrocephalus is a chronic condition. It can be controlled, but usually not cured. With appropriate early treatment, however, many people with hydrocephalus lead normal lives with few limitations. Hydrocephalus can occur at any age, but is most common in infants and adults age 60 and older.Does hydrocephalus run in families? ›
It is estimated that about 40% of hydrocephalus cases have a possible genetic etiology .