Seizures and Hydrocephalus

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November is Epilepsy Awareness month and we would like to address this topic, as seizures are not an uncommon occurrence in people with hydrocephalus. However, no correlations have been found between the number of shunt revisions or the site of shunt placement and the risk of developing seizures.

Past studies have shown:

  • Children who have been shunted for hydrocephalus and who have significant cognitive delay or motor disability are more likely to develop seizures than those without cognitive or motor delays.
  • Seizures are not likely to occur at the time of shunt malfunction.
  • The most likely explanation for the development of seizure disorder is the presence of associated malformations of the cerebral cortex.

Recent studies also show that patients who undergo hemispherectomy surgery for medically intractable epilepsy may develop hydrocephalus. A significant portion of these patients develop hydrocephalus on a delayed basis, indicating the need for long-term surveillance.

For more information on epilepsy/seizures and hydrocephalus read the following articles and/or visit the Hydrocephalus Resource Library and search for articles using keywords like seizure, epilepsy.


  1. Agrawal, D. and Durity, F.; Seizure as a Manifestation of Intracranial Hypotension in a Shunted Patient. Pediatric Neurosurgery, 2006; 42:165-167/2006
  2. Lew SM, Matthews AE, Hartman AL, Haranhalli N; Posthemispherectomy hydrocephalus: Results of a comprehensive, multi-institutional review. Epilepsia. 2012 Oct 25. doi: 10.1111/epi.12010.
  3. Bourgeois et al, Epilepsy in children with shunted hydrocephalus. Journal of Neurosurgery,  February 1999 / Vol. 90 / No. 2 / Pages 274-281
  4. Sato O, Yamguchi T, Kittaka M, Toyama H; Hydrocephalus and epilepsy. Childs Nerv Syst. 2001 Jan;17(1-2):76-86.
  5. Kulkarni et al. Comparison of Hydrocephalus Outcome Questionnaire Scores to Neuropsychological Test Performance. Journal of Neurosurgery Pediatrics, 2011; 8:396-401/2011
  6. Epilepsy Foundation:
1 Comments for : Seizures and Hydrocephalus
    • No name
    • July 8, 2018

    My neurologist said most like caus of epilepsy,lesions on the brain. I have a hydroelectric cephalosporins and a shunt.I think most re research is needed and honesty about shunt infections.NHS should offer more patients with partial seizures.I’m on phenytoin.As well as benzodiazapines.Phenytoin doesn’t work.It’s cheap rubbish.I was also of choldbearing age and use a wheelchair and can’t drive.

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