Hydrocephalus in Meningitis


Hydrocephalus is a serious medical condition that can be caused by meningitis. It is caused when the brain is infected by the meningococcal bacteria, which inflames the brain and its membranes. The infection can cause a blockage in the normal flow of cerebrospinal fluid, which is responsible for cushioning the brain and spinal cord. As the fluid accumulates, it can cause the skull to increase in size, leading to an enlargement of the head as well as pressure on the brain. In some cases, hydrocephalus can cause seizures, blindness, and even permanent brain damage if it is left untreated. If the infection is noticed early, it can be treated with antibiotics, but more severe cases may require surgery to help relieve the pressure on the brain.

Signs and Symptoms

Hydrocephalus in Meningitis is a serious medical condition where the pressure on the brain increases due to excess fluid buildup. It is often caused by meningitis, a serious infection of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. If not treated promptly, hydrocephalus can lead to brain damage and even death. The signs and symptoms of hydrocephalus in meningitis can vary, but they typically include:

  1. Headache
  2. Nausea and vomiting
  3. Confusion and irritability
  4. Blurred vision or double vision
  5. Difficulty walking and balance problems
  6. Lethargy and sleepiness
  7. Seizures

If any of these symptoms are present, it is important to seek medical attention immediately in order to diagnose and treat hydrocephalus in meningitis.


Hydrocephalus is an often-overlooked complication of meningitis. It is a medical condition characterized by an accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the ventricles of the brain, causing increased pressure on the brain. For the diagnosis of hydrocephalus, medical history, physical examination, and imaging tests such as CT scans, MRI scans, ultrasound, and ventriculography are used. Symptoms of hydrocephalus associated with meningitis include headache, nausea and vomiting, blurred vision, difficulty walking, and cognitive impairment. If left untreated, hydrocephalus can cause permanent neurological and physical damage, even death. Early detection and treatment of hydrocephalus is important to reduce the risk of long-term complications.


Treating hydrocephalus associated with meningitis is a multi-faceted process that involves surgically draining excess fluid from the brain and eliminating bacterial and/or viral infections. If bacterial meningitis is the cause, antibiotics are necessary to kill the bacteria and prevent further complications. In the most extreme cases, the doctor may opt to insert a ventriculoperitoneal shunt, which diverts excess fluid build-up away from the brain and into the abdomen where it can be reabsorbed. Antivirals may also be prescribed to kill viruses that cause meningitis. Another important component of treatment involves monitoring the patient’s neurological functions, such as speech and motor skills, to ensure that there has been no permanent damage as a result of the infection or hydrocephalus.


Meningitis is a serious infection of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord, and hydrocephalus is a common complication of this condition. The outlook for people with hydrocephalus and meningitis depends on several factors, including the severity of the illness and the age and overall health of the patient. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment are key to minimizing the risk of severe complications and ensuring the best possible outcome. While hydrocephalus can cause permanent damage, some individuals with the condition can lead a normal life with proper medical management. Although the outlook is generally positive, patients should work closely with their healthcare team and keep up with their follow-up care to ensure early detection and successful management of any recurrent symptoms.


Hydrocephalus is a serious complication of meningitis that can result in long-term damage to the brain and other organs. It occurs when the protective layers of the brain, known as the meninges, become infected, leading to an accumulation of fluid in the brain. This fluid can cause the pressure in the skull to increase, leading to a range of symptoms, from headaches and blurred vision to seizures and severe mental impairment. In some cases, surgery may be needed to insert a shunt or other device to reduce the pressure in the skull. Left untreated, hydrocephalus can lead to permanent neurological damage and even death. It is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible after meningitis is suspected in order to reduce the risk of serious complications.

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