The abnormal buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the ventricles of the brain. Also called: Water on the brain.
Excessive accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid within the cranium which may be a congenital or acquired disorder; hydrocephalus ex-vacuo refers to ventricular dilation that occurs as a result of brain substance loss from cerebral infarction and other conditions. There are two types of hydrocephalus. Congenital hydrocephalus (present at birth), and acquired hydrocephalus (occuring at any age). Causes of congenital hydrocephalus include genetic problems and problems in fetus development. An unusually large head is the main sign of congenital hydrocephalus. Causes of acquired hydrocephalus can include head injuries, strokes, infections, tumors and bleeding in the brain. Symptoms range from headache, vomiting, nausea, blurred vision, balance impairment, bladder control problems as well as confusion and memory impairment. Hydrocephalus can cause permanent brain damage, resulting in problems with physical and mental development; if left untreated, it is usually fatal. With treatment, normalcy can be achieved with few limitations. Surgical treatment usually involves inserting a shunt. Medication and rehabilitation therapy can also help.