Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is produced by and flows through the brain and spinal cord. It protects and provides nutrients to the brain and spinal cord. CSF is absorbed into the bloodstream.
Hydrocephalus is a condition where there is excessive CSF in the brain. When the production and absorption of CSFare affected, the cavities (ventricles) of the brain enlarge, increasing brain pressure (Figure 1).
The cause of hydrocephalus is usually unknown but could develop due to:
Comparison between normal ventricles and enlarged ventricles
Treatment depends mostly on the type of hydrocephalus and the patient's condition.
External Ventricular Drain (EVD)A drain is temporarily inserted to remove excess CSF and reduce brain pressure.
ShuntA permanent tube (shunt) may be inserted to direct CSF from the brain to other parts of the body like the abdomen for absorption (Figure 2).
Though uncommon, shunt complications include:
Generally, patients are on long-term monitoring but can go about their daily activities.
A shunt inserted to direct CSF from the brain to the abdomen
Endoscopic Third Ventriculostomy (ETV)Procedure to open a path in the brain cavities for CSF to flow.
Download the Adult Hydrocephalus brochure