One of the serious and dangerous diseases that occurs in newborns, preschoolers and schoolchildren, is brain hydrocephalus. In children, this pathology (and this is official statistics) is very common. In 70% of infants, an obvious or hidden (hypertensive-hydrocephalic syndrome) form of this disease is detected. What are its features?
Dropsy brain: what's the disease?
Although the parents of a child diagnosed with “hydrocephalus” are more concerned not with anatomy issues, but with whether the disease can be cured, the enemy must be known by sight. This will help to notice the signs of a terrible disease.
So, absolutely all people, children and adults, inside the skull there is a small amount of fluid - liquor. It washes the brain and is located in the space between the brain and the skull. Its quantity is constant, as it is constantly updated in a natural way. If the body begins to produce it more than necessary, then the cerebrospinal fluid will put pressure on the brain - the intracranial pressure will increase.
The most terrible consequences of brain hydrocephalus in children are mental retardation, cerebral palsy, seizures.
On what parents should pay attention to: signs in infants
What features of the behavior and development of the newborn may indicate that he has hydrocephalus? Symptoms in infants (up to 2 years) are quite specific, so not only the doctor, but also the young parents themselves can draw attention to them. Dropsy of the brain is manifested in infants like this:
- the main symptom is too active growth of the head circumference. Since the baby's stitches have not yet grown together, the head increases as the brain presses on it. A special schedule of its “growth” standards for newborns has been developed. The district pediatrician should measure at least once every 2-3 months. If deviations are detected, then the alarm should be sounded;
- big, bulging springline. Usually, when a baby reaches the age of one, it should close, but with hydrocephalus this does not occur until 2 or even 3 years;
- an enlarged and prominent forehead with a pronounced venous network;
- if the disease is started, then the eyes go down (this phenomenon is called “Graefe's symptom”);
- pens a newborn keeps cams all the time;
- lower extremity hypertonus;
- frequent regurgitation;
- during sleep, the child throws back the head;
- lag of psychomotor development: the kid does not hold his head, does not sit down and does not try to get up. If it is lifted, it relies very weakly on the legs, it does not have a step reflex. He is lethargic, sedentary, whiny;
- baby tormented by headache. He cannot report it in words, but often clutches his head.
The classic sign of hydrocephalus, which is visible even to a layman, is an unnaturally large head in a child. If a mother sees at least some of these symptoms, then she should immediately report this to the pediatrician.
how Is the disease manifested in preschoolers?
Since by two years the spring is closed, the symptoms of brain hydrocephalus also change. In toddlers and preschool children, the clinical picture of the disease is as follows:
- headache, which is accompanied by nausea and vomiting;
- aggressive behavior;
- increased activity;
- hysterical seizures;
- urinary incontinence;
- susceptibility to colds and infectious diseases;
- reduced visual acuity;
- sometimes epileptic seizures.
Hydrocephalus student: complaints and symptoms
Hydrocephalus of the brain in school-age children develops less frequently. The disease makes itself felt such manifestations:
- headache and nosebleed;
- a sharp decrease in memory and attention;
- difficulties with learning the curriculum;
- the inability to perform written tasks for a long time (as the child's hands get tired quickly);
- a large number of errors in the written work;
- difficulty compiling an oral narrative;
- slow reading, uneven handwriting;
- decrease in progress;
- endocrine disorders may occur - gigantism or growth and physical development.
how What is the result of the treatment?
If a child’s hydrocephalus is suspected, a neurosurgeon should examine it. In the vast majority of cases, such patients are treated surgically. This is unpleasant news for parents; it is difficult for them to agree to an operation. But a prolonged increase in intracranial pressure will inevitably affect the physical, mental and intellectual development of the child. But even after the operation, the head of the child will not acquire normal size, the intervention will only help to slow down its growth in the future.
Surgical care consists of ventiluloperitoneal shunting. This is a very common operation in which a system of silicone catheters is installed for the outflow of liquor. They pass under the skin and are invisible from the outside.
Today, more sparing methods of treating brain hydrocephalus in children have been developed. Replaced bypass surgery came with the use of endoscopic technology. In short, using the endoscope in the brain creates a bypass channel for the forced outflow of CSF. This is a very productive operation, but it is not available for all forms of hydrocephalus.
Therapy in some cases is carried out in such ways:
- medicamentous (it is indicated for not progressive open hydrocephalus). Diuretics are prescribed for the child, for example, Diacarb, Lasix, Furosemide, Mannitol, Glycerol. This helps to remove excess fluid from the body, but this treatment provides temporary relief. In addition, the body loses nutrients. After the patient stops taking such drugs, the cerebrospinal fluid begins to accumulate again, and the intracranial pressure increases again;
- microcurrent reflexology. Gives the opportunity to eliminate both external and internal manifestations of the disease;
- Phytopreparations treatment - decoction of horsetail, lingonberry leaf and fennel: these plants have a diuretic effect. It is used only for prophylactic purposes to prevent exacerbation of hydrocephalus;
- massage. It is used to eliminate increased muscle tone, normalization of psychomotor development. This method does not affect the primary cause of the disease, so it is auxiliary.
Effects and forecasts
Can a child recover and live a full life? It depends on the form of the disease and on whether treatment is started promptly. Often, with early diagnosis and correct therapy (and the best effect is given by the operation: it helps in 50% of cases) children recover, and there is no lag in physical or mental terms.
Acquired dropsy in children suggests worse predictions than congenital. If the child is not treated, then the pathology can be fatal.
Modern medicine has achieved great success in the treatment of many diseases. This also applies to hydrocephalus. The combined efforts of doctors, rehabilitation specialists and teachers can return a sick child to a full life. The role of parents in the treatment of this disease is also extremely great: they must take a responsible approach to the planning of pregnancy, control the state of health of their offspring and decide on extreme measures if necessary.