glossary

Below are helpful definitions for many of the words found on this website.

ACETAZOLAMIDE — A medication sometimes used in people with hydrocephalus to provide temporary relief by decreasing pressure inside the skull.

ACQUIRED HYDROCEPHALUS — A type of hydrocephalus that occurs as a consequence of an intra-cranial hemorrhage, meningitis, brain tumor, cyst, head trauma, or infection.

ANESTHESIOLOGIST — An anesthetist with a medical degree (a doctor).

ANESTHETIST — The healthcare professional who provides and monitors the anesthesia given during surgery to make sure the person having surgery does not feel any pain during the surgery.

CEREBROSPINAL FLUID (CSF) — Fluid produced in the brain containing proteins, electrolytes, and nutrients that cushions the brain and spinal cord from injury.

COMMUNICATING HYDROCEPHALUS — Also known as non- obstructive hydrocephalus. This condition is caused by impaired cerebrospinal fluid absorption or over production in the absence of any CSF flow obstruction.

COMPUTED TOMOGRAPHY (CT) SCAN — A medical test that uses non-radioactive, high-contrast imaging to diagnose hydrocephalus by allowing healthcare professionals to look at the brain without performing surgery.

CONGENITAL HYDROCEPHALUS — A type of hydrocephalus that occurs before, during, or soon after birth, or later in life due to a medical condition that existed at birth.

CYTOMEGALOVIRUS (CMV) — A type of herpes virus.

ELECTROCARDIOGRAM (EKG) — A device used to monitor a person’s heart rate.

FIXED PRESSURE SHUNT — A type of shunt in which the valve is pre-set to respond to a specific pressure, such as low, medium, or high, and must be surgically replaced if the pressure requirement changes.

FUROSEMIDE — A medication sometimes used in people with hydrocephalus to provide temporary relief by decreasing pressure inside the skull.

HYDROCEPHALUS — Also called "water on the brain." From the Greek word "hydro" which means water and “cephalus” which means head. A medical condition in which the balance of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) production and absorption is disrupted, causing CSF to build up in the brain, and resulting in swelling, increased pressure in the skull, and nerve damage.

IDIOPATHIC NPH — The most common type of normal-pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) for which the cause is unknown.

LUMBAR PUNCTURE — Also called a "spinal tap," a medical procedure in which is thin needle is inserted into the spinal cord to drain excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).

MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING (MRI) — A medical test that uses a combination of radio waves and powerful magnets to diagnose hydrocephalus by showing a detailed view of the different structures of the brain.

MYELOMENINGOCLES — A form of spina bifida in which a portion of the person’s spinal cord protrudes from their back.

NEUROSURGEON — A surgeon who specializes in performing surgery on the nervous system including the brain and spinal cord.

NON-COMMUNICATING (OBSTRUCTIVE) HYDROCEPHALUS — Hydrocephalus that occurs when something blocks the flow of cerebrospinal fluid from circulating properly through the brain.

PROGRAMMABLE SHUNT — A type of shunt in which the valve can be programmed for the individual pressure needs of each person, allowing reprogramming without surgery if the pressure need changes over time.

PULSE OXIMETER — A device used to measure the amount of oxygen in a person’s blood.

RADIOSCOPE CISTERNOGRAPHY — A medical test that uses radiation to help healthcare professionals watch how cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flows through the brain.

RUBELLA — The virus that causes German measles.

SHUNT — A tubing and valve system comprised of an upper and lower catheter, a reservoir, and a valve mechanism that allows drainage of CSF from the brain ventricles into another area of the body (most commonly the abdomen). Most shunts contain a differential pressure valve mechanism that is set to open and drain fluid after a certain CSF pressure is reached.

TOXOPLASMOSIS — Infection caused by the protozoon Toxoplasma gondii, which may be acquired by eating undercooked meat, or by coming in contact with infected soil or an infected animal.

ULTRASOUND —A medical test that uses high frequency sound waves to diagnose hydrocephalus in unborn children and in infants.

VENTRICLO-ATRIAL SHUNT — A type of shunt that drains excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from the brain into the atria of the heart.

VENTRICULO-PERITONEAL (VP) SHUNT — A type of shunt that drains excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from the brain into the abdomen or peritoneum (belly).

VENTRICULO-PLEURAL SHUNT — A type of shunt that drains excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from the brain into the space surrounding the lung.

 

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DSUS/COD/1214/0211 - 01/2015

Diagnosis

They have a brochure explaining pediatric hydrocephalus and even one called "Hydrocephalus -

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Did You Know?

Hydrocephalus is a combination of the Greek word “hydro” which means water and “cephalus” which means head.