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My wife has water on the brain. She is 90 yrs old had the catheter drained 2yrs ago

By Anonymous August 26, 2014 - 5:38pm
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was not successful. would you recommend a shunt?

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Hello Anonymous,

Thank you for reaching out to us with your question. I am sorry to hear that your wife is suffering with this condition. It must be a strain on you as well.

Hydrocephalus, once known as "water on the brain", is a condition which is characterized by excessive accumulation of fluid in the brain. This fluid is actually cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). It is a clear fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord.

The excessive accumulation of CSF results in an abnormal widening of spaces in the brain called ventricles. This widening creates potentially harmful pressure on the tissues of the brain.

Anonymous, was a catheter inserted to drain the CSF? Was this done in a hospital setting with your wife being an inpatient?

Currently, hydrocephalus is most often treated by surgically inserting a shunt system. This system diverts the flow of CSF from the central nervous system to another area of the body where it can be absorbed as part of the normal circulatory process.

As stated by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, "A shunt is a flexible but sturdy plastic tube. A shunt system consists of the shunt, a catheter, and a valve. One end of the catheter is placed within a ventricle inside the brain or in the CSF outside the spinal cord. The other end of the catheter is commonly placed within the abdominal cavity, but may also be placed at other sites in the body such as a chamber of the heart or areas around the lung where the CSF can drain and be absorbed. A valve located along the catheter maintains one-way flow and regulates the rate of CSF flow. "

Anonymous, you must consult your wife's physician. Your wife's overall medical health and age are factors to consider with regard to this type of surgery.


August 27, 2014 - 8:12am
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