What is Hydrocephalus?

Hydrocephalus is a build-up of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) on the brain. The excess fluid outs pressure on the brain, which can damage it. If left untreated, hydrocephalus can be fatal.

There are three types of hydrocephalus:

  1. Congenital hydrocephalus – When a baby is born with the condition. It can be caused by a condition such as spina bifida, or an infection the mother develops during pregnancy such as mumps or rubella.
  2. Acquired hydrocephalus – When hydrocephalus develops after birth as a result of an illness or injury.
  3. Normal pressure hydrocephalus – Usually only develops in elderly people

Symptoms of Hydrocephalus

The symptoms of hydrocephalus might include:

  • a large head size or a rapid increase in head circumference
  • downward eye gaze
  • vomiting
  • drowsiness
  • irritability
  • seizures

Older children might experience:

  • headaches
  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • swelling of the optic disc
  • impaired vision (crossed eyes)
  • problems with balance and coordination
  • drowsiness
  • irritability
  • cognitive difficulties

Treating Hydrocephalus

Hydrocephalus can usually be treated using a shunt, a thin tube that is surgically implanted in the brain and drains away the excess fluid. An alternative procedure to shunt surgery is an endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV).

Instead of inserting a shunt, the surgeon makes a hole in the floor of the brain to allow the trapped CSF to escape to the brain’s surface, where it can be absorbed.

Hydrocephalus Claims

Sometimes brain injury can occur as a result of a delay in diagnosis and treatment of hydrocephalus or as a result of a failure to adequately monitor patients and act on symptoms suggestive of a build-up of pressure on the brain.

This can cause a number of long-term complications, such as:

  • learning disabilities
  • impaired speech
  • memory problems
  • short attention span
  • problems with organisational skills
  • vision problems, such as a squint and visual impairment
  • problems with physical co-ordination
  • epilepsy

If your child has learning disabilities, they’ll need extra support throughout their lives to ensure their needs are being met.

As a parent it can be difficult to accept that your child has suffered a brain injury and thinking about the support your child will require and how you will cope as a family can be frightening and stressful. We have a great deal of experience in working with families and children to understand why injury occurred and to pursue financial compensation to help the family to provide the care, therapy, treatment and equipment required to ensure their needs are fully supported and their future is secure.

We understand that poor care can lead to devastating, life changing injuries and it’s at this point that patients should consider legal action. If your baby has sustained an injury resulting from delayed diagnosis or treatment of hydrocephalus, please call us on 0113 284 5745 or email clinneg@isonharrison.co.uk a member of our team will listen to your story and deal with your enquiry in a sensitive matter.

Legally Speaking Podcast

Our Director & Head of Clinical Negligence, James Thompson, discusses the sensitive topic of birth injuries and how to bring a birth injury negligence claim.

Listen to our Legally Speaking podcast on birth injuries here: