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How is obstructive hydrocephalus treated in a child?

Q: My newborn baby has an obstructive hydrocephalus problem. The delivery was a forceps one. After the 5th day, we started noticing that his eye balls were going down, like the sunset view. Also, now that he is 44 days old, his head is swollen a little bit. When we did a CT Scan, obstructive hydrocephalus was found. Could you explain what is the reason for this? What are the treatment options?

A:All of us have water-like fluid (called cerebrospinal fluid) circulating in and around the brain. When the pathway along which this fluid flows is obstructed, fluid collects within the brain, compresses its substance and damaging it. As the pressure within the head increases, the brain mechanisms for controlling the movement of the eyes upwards is damaged and you get the appearance where each eyeball resembles the setting sun. At this age, the cause is most likely to be a fault in the development of the pathway for flow of fluid. Fortunately, we can treat this condition by bypassing the block. A valved tube made of silastic - called a CSF shunt - is inserted. One end lies in the pool of fluid in the brain. The other is usually placed in the abdominal cavity. The fluid passes through the shunt into the abdomen, where it is absorbed and then excreted as urine. The brain is thus spared damage.


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