What are the signs and symptoms of hydrocephalus in traumatic brain injury (TBI)?

Updated: Mar 02, 2020
  • Author: Percival H Pangilinan, Jr, MD; Chief Editor: Stephen Kishner, MD, MHA  more...
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Hydrocephalus is characterized as communicating or noncommunicating on the basis of the causative obstruction. Noncommunicating hydrocephalus occurs secondary to an obstruction in the ventricular system before the point at which cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) exits the fourth ventricle. Communicating hydrocephalus is the most common form after TBI and occurs when the obstruction is in the subarachnoid space. [31]

Patients with hydrocephalus can clinically present with nausea, vomiting, headache, papilledema, obtundation, dementia, ataxia, and/or urinary incontinence. The diagnosis is based on clinical suspicion, diagnostic imaging, and radio-isotope cisternography. Treatment usually consists of lumbar puncture or shunt placement.

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