Precautions To Take If You Have Hydrocephalus
Hydrocephalus is a frequently seen problem in Indian medical clinics. Hydrocephalus is when the cerebral ventricular system dilates and as a result, compressive effects on the parenchyma are seen. As is the case with conditions of this ilk, hydrocephalus can either be communicative in some cases, or in others, obstructive. Hydrocephalus, in its essence, is a condition where there is an excess accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid within the ventricular system; also within the cisterns of the brain. This condition leads to intracranial pressure (ICP) and associated consequences.
The advancement of technology, with the advent of CT scans, has resulted in the easier detection of hydrocephalus. Treatment options, as a result, have also advanced.
Hydrocephalus symptoms and signs:
Clinically, hydrocephalus in a child comes bundled with sometimes subtle, and sometimes undisguised symptoms and can include:
- Poor feeding
- Enlarged head size
- Fontanelle bulging
- Cranial sutures’ wide separation
- Highly prominent veins of the scalp
- “Setting sun” eyes, because of CSF’s pressure on the midbrain tectum
Symptoms in Adults
When hydrocephalus goes undiagnosed perhaps because of a lack of obvious signs in early infancy, symptoms do show up later in their lives when they are older children or even when they have reached adulthood. The signs and symptoms, in this case, could include:
- Raised ICP
- Severe headaches
- Nausea and vomiting
- Perpetual drowsiness
- Cognitive impairment
- Inability to concentrate for longer periods
- Visual obscurations
Upon noticing the symptoms, it is imperative that prompt treatment from the best neurology hospital in Coimbatore is taken.
Wherever the hydrocephalus is progressive and correlates with an increase in ICP, a variety of treatments can be tried. Shunts are the main treatment for hydrocephalus. However, they are notorious for their frequent malfunctioning and as a result, people seek shunt infection treatment across clinics in Coimbatore.
The vast majority of children with hydrocephalus, nevertheless, are treated by inserting a ventricular shunt. The shunt is designed to divert excessive fluid from the ventricles to usually a different compartment in the body, the peritoneum. Hydrocephalus treatment using shunts, as discussed above, are prone to abject malfunctioning. Studies indicate that shunts fail at a rate of 40-50% even within the first year of their placement.
While Hydrocephalus by itself is a cause for concern, its primary shunt treatment itself is prone to spectacularly bad failures and can result in infections. Prompt diagnosis is needed to treat a shunt malfunction as it can with fearsome ease, result in permanent neurological impairments. In more extreme cases, death is also a possibility from a shunt infection.
Assessing a shunt infection
To even think that a child is affected by shunt infection can be tricky, because shunt infections can deceptively come across as regular childhood illnesses. Parents need to be extra alert and watchful as they are responsible primarily, for identifying shunt malfunction and responding appropriately.
The symptoms of shunt malfunctioning are not specific in nature and can be variable in unpredictable ways. Shunt infections can present themselves as viral infections, and it is requisite of parents to make the initial judgment call on whether or not their infected child needs to be treated at the hands of the best neurologist in Coimbatore.
Precautions to take while dealing with hydrocephalus
Since hydrocephalus can be often blatant in its presentation, parents do take their children to get them treated. Shunt treatment, however, often proves to be a failure. Its failures can never be certain for a while, and parents can be left in the uncertain lurch as to what they are dealing with when their child shows viral infections’ signs.
Therefore, developing expertise in dealing with a child suffering from hydrocephalus is a long-term precaution to take. This does involve a learning curve, however. With this said, it is worth reiterating that the primary precaution to take if a child is dealing with hydrocephalus is the development of the ability to differentiate regular childhood illnesses from those caused by shunt infections and hydrocephalus — viral infections amongst others.