Pronounced: Hi-dro-sef-uh-lissEn Español (Spanish Version)
Hydrocephalus is too much fluid in the brain. The fluid is called cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). It is a clear fluid that normally surrounds both the spinal cord and the brain. It is also in the ventricular system in the brain. With hydrocephalus the ventricles, or spaces, become enlarged.
You may be born with hydrocephalus, or it may develop after an injury or illness.
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Hydrocephalus occurs when:
- A blockage doesn't allow CSF to drain properly
- Another condition, such as bleeding, inflammation, or infection, makes the brain unable to resorb fluid
- An excess of CSF is produced
These problems with the CSF may be caused by:
- Brain tumors
- Swelling in the CSF, such as sarcoidosis
- Cysts in the brain
- Malformations of the brain, such as:
- Brain injuries
- Infections of the brain or meninges, such as encephalitis or meningitis
- Problems with the blood vessel in the brain, such as aneurysms or arteriovenous malformations
- Bleeding into the brain or CSF space
Last reviewedJune 2013by Rimas Lukas, MD; Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.