Hydrocephalus

On December 4, 2010 Wylder just wasnt’ acting like himself.  He had excessive exhaustion, crankiness, and couldn’t hold a single thing in his tummy.  Mommy and Daddy took him into Phoenix Children’s Hospital where we learned he had Hydrocephalus.  Hydrocephalus, literally means “water on the brain,”and is a condition in which excessive cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) collects inside the skull. This fluid is normally found in the brain, although excessive amounts of CSF may build pressure to levels that cause brain damage and subsequent disability.  Wylder’s CAT scan showed his ventricles were about five times the “normal” size.  This is when we met world renown pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Adelson.  Read all about Dr. Adelson at http://www.phoenixchildrens.com/about/spotlight-stories/dr-adelson/

Based on the different kinds of CSF circulation in the brain, hydrocephalus can be divided into two types: communicating and non-communicating. Dr. Adelson, determined with an MRI, that Wylder had communicating hydrocephalus, meaning CSF circulation pathways are competent from the ventricles inside of the brain to the fluid spaces just below the third ventricle.

The primary method of treatment for hydrocephalus is surgical installation of a VP shunt.  Dr. Adelson performed this surgery on Wylder at 11pm on December 4th.  A shunt is a tube connecting the ventricles of the brain to an alternative drainage site … in Wylder’s case the abdominal cavity. A shunt contains a one way valve to prevent reverse flow of fluid.

Installation of a shunt requires lifelong monitoring by Mom and Dad for signs of recurring hydrocephalus due to obstruction or failure of the shunt. Other than monitoring, no other management activity is usually required.  Wylder’s shunt is operating as expected and he has recovered wonderfully.  Although hydrocephalus is not “normal” protocol for Niemann Pick A … this has all happened for a reason and we are grateful to have Dr. Adelson on team Wylder.

See ‘Shunt Replacement’ January 2010 for new update on Shunt