Hydrocephalus Due To Aqueductal Stenosis

Hydrocephalus occurs when excess fluid builds up in your brain, most often because of an obstruction preventing proper fluid drainage. The excess fluid can push fragile brain tissues up against the skull — causing brain damage and, if left untreated, even death.       
Once known as "water on the brain," hydrocephalus is sometimes present at birth, although it may develop later. About one out of 500 children are born with the disorder. The outlook for people with hydrocephalus depends on how quickly the condition is diagnosed and whether any underlying disorders are present.        
The signs and symptoms of hydrocephalus vary by age group and disease progression. In infants, common signs and symptoms of hydrocephalus include:
  • An unusually large head
  • A rapid increase in the size of the head
  • A bulging "soft spot" on the top of the head
  • Vomiting
  • Sleepiness
  • Irritability
  • Seizures
  • Eyes fixed downward (sunsetting of the eyes)
  • Developmental delay


In older children and adults, common signs and symptoms of hydrocephalus include:
  • Headache followed by vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Eyes fixed downward (sunsetting of the eyes)
  • Problems with balance, coordination or gait
  • Sluggishness or lack of energy
  • Slowing or regression of development
  • Memory loss
  • Confusion
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Irritability
  • Changes in personality


Hydrocephalus produces different combinations of these signs and symptoms, depending on its cause, which also varies by age. For example, a condition known as normal pressure hydrocephalus, which mainly affects older people, typically starts with difficulty walking. Urinary incontinence often develops, along with a type of dementia marked by slowness of thinking and information processing.

[ Back ]