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Published: October 26, 2023

Why There is Increase in Mortality in Pediatric Hydrocephalus

Pediatric hydrocephalus is a medical condition that affects children, often requiring careful management and treatment. While many children with hydrocephalus lead normal lives, there has been a concerning increase in mortality associated with this condition. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the various aspects of pediatric hydrocephalus, including its mortality rates, risk factors, potential outcomes, and ways to support children affected by it. We will also highlight the valuable contributions of the New Jersey Pediatric Neuroscience Institute in addressing this challenging condition.

What is the Mortality in Pediatric Hydrocephalus?

Hydrocephalus is a neurological disorder characterized by an excessive accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain's ventricles. In pediatric cases, the condition arises due to various factors, including congenital malformations, infections, or tumors. Without proper management, hydrocephalus can lead to severe health complications, including an increased risk of mortality.

Mortality rates in pediatric hydrocephalus vary depending on the cause, the child's age, and the availability of appropriate medical care. While significant advances in neurosurgery and medical technology have improved outcomes, pediatric hydrocephalus remains a complex condition with associated risks. Mortality rates are higher in cases where hydrocephalus is not diagnosed or treated promptly.

Why Is There an Increase in Mortality in Pediatric Hydrocephalus?

Several factors contribute to the increase in mortality associated with pediatric hydrocephalus:

  1. Late Diagnosis: Delayed diagnosis can result from the subtle presentation of symptoms or limited access to healthcare. The longer hydrocephalus remains untreated, the higher the risk of mortality.
  2. Infection: Infections in the central nervous system can exacerbate hydrocephalus and increase the risk of complications. Meningitis, for example, can lead to inflammation and scarring in the brain.
  3. Shunt Complications: Shunt systems are commonly used to manage hydrocephalus by diverting excess cerebrospinal fluid. However, these devices can malfunction, leading to potentially life-threatening complications.
  4. Comorbidities: Children with hydrocephalus may also have other medical conditions that increase the complexity of their care, leading to a higher risk of mortality.

What are the Risk Factors of Hydrocephalus in Pediatrics?

Understanding the risk factors associated with pediatric hydrocephalus is crucial for early detection and intervention:

  1. Congenital Factors: Congenital hydrocephalus is present at birth and may be linked to genetic factors or maternal infections during pregnancy.
  2. Infections: Infections during pregnancy or early infancy can lead to acquired hydrocephalus.
  3. Intraventricular Hemorrhage: Premature infants are at increased risk of developing hydrocephalus due to intraventricular hemorrhage.
  4. Tumors and Lesions: Brain tumors or lesions can obstruct cerebrospinal fluid flow, causing hydrocephalus.

Can a Child with Hydrocephalus Live a Normal Life?

Many children with hydrocephalus can lead fulfilling lives with the right medical care and support. Early diagnosis and intervention are key to improving outcomes. Treatment options for hydrocephalus may include shunt placement, endoscopic third ventriculostomy, or other surgical procedures. Rehabilitation and ongoing medical monitoring can help children with hydrocephalus achieve their potential.

It's essential for children with hydrocephalus to receive comprehensive medical care, including neurosurgical intervention, regular follow-up appointments, and rehabilitation services as needed. Families often work closely with healthcare professionals to develop an individualized care plan that addresses their child's unique needs.

While a diagnosis of hydrocephalus can be concerning, many children with this condition can lead fulfilling lives with appropriate care, support, and a positive attitude. The prognosis will depend on the specific circumstances of the individual child and the effectiveness of their treatment and ongoing management.

How Can You Support Your Child Who Has Pediatric Hydrocephalus?

To provide vital support for a child with pediatric hydrocephalus, turning to the New Jersey Pediatric Neuroscience Institute is a wise choice. This institute serves as an invaluable resource for families seeking comprehensive care and guidance in managing pediatric neurological conditions like hydrocephalus. Their specialized team not only delivers expert medical treatment but also offers emotional assistance and educational materials to aid families throughout this demanding journey.

Support for children with hydrocephalus and their families is essential. The New Jersey Pediatric Neuroscience Institute is a valuable resource for those seeking comprehensive care and guidance. They offer specialized expertise in pediatric neurological conditions, including hydrocephalus. Their team provides not only medical treatment but also emotional support and educational resources to assist families on this challenging journey.


Pediatric hydrocephalus presents significant challenges, including an increase in mortality rates when left untreated. Understanding the risk factors, timely diagnosis, and appropriate medical care are essential for improving outcomes. With the right support, many children with hydrocephalus can lead fulfilling lives. The New Jersey Pediatric Neuroscience Institute stands as a beacon of hope, offering specialized care and support for families facing this complex condition. By raising awareness and improving access to quality healthcare, we can work towards reducing the mortality associated with pediatric hydrocephalus and providing a brighter future for affected children.

Medically Reviewed By:

Dr. John Collins

MD, DDS, Board-certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon

Reviewed on: October 27, 2023

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