Encyclopedia > Hydrocephalus

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Hydrocephalus is the abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the ventricles[?] of the brain.

In babies and infants, the head will enlarge because the bones are not joined together. One of the early symptoms in the newborn is that the fontanelle (soft spot) will bulge and become firm.

Doctors are able to treat hydrocephalus by putting a tube, called a shunt, into the ventricles to help drain the fluid. Most shunts drain the fluid into the abdominal area, where it is absorbed, but some drain to the heart.

About 80% of fetuses or new born infants with spina bifida develop hydrocephalus.

Hydrocephalus is a Latin term that means 'water on the brain'.

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