Types and Causes
Hydrocephalus is a complex, chronic condition that can develop for a variety of reasons, sometimes as part of another condition.
Hydrocephalus is a complex, chronic condition that can develop for a variety of reasons, sometimes as part of another condition. You can be born with it or acquire it from brain tumors, infections of the brain or a brain injury. It may also develop it as part of the aging process.
Congenital hydrocephalus means the condition is present at birth, caused by a complex interaction of genetic and environmental factors during fetal development. Congenital hydrocephalus is now often diagnosed before birth through routine ultrasound.
Acquired hydrocephalus develops after birth as a result of a neurological condition or trauma.
Communicating and Non-communicating are another set of terms you may hear from a doctor to describe hydrocephalus. They refer to where the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) gets blocked.
Compensated hydrocephalus or arrested is the form of hydrocephalus that may have been present at birth, and perhaps even treated in early childhood, but remained largely compensated (unchanging) and asymptomatic for many years.
Normal pressure hydrocephalus occurs in older adults when the ventricles of the brain are enlarged, but there is little or no increase in the pressure within the ventricles. Sometimes the cause of NPH is known – but most often it is idiopathic, which means the cause is not known.