Prognosis *

The prognosis for patients diagnosed with hydrocephalus is difficult to predict, although there is some correlation between the specific cause of the hydrocephalus and the patient's outcome. Prognosis is further complicated by the presence of associated disorders, the timeliness of diagnosis and the success of treatment. The degree to which decompression (relief of CSF pressure or build-up) following shunt surgery can minimize or reverse damage to the brain, is not well understood.

Prognosis of Progressive Hydrocephalus

Affected individuals and their families should be aware that hydrocephalus poses risks to both cognitive and physical development. However, many children diagnosed with the disorder benefit from rehabilitation therapies and educational interventions and go on to lead normal lives with few limitations. Treatment by an interdisciplinary team of medical professionals, rehabilitation specialists, and educational experts is critical to a positive outcome. Left untreated, progressive hydrocephalus is, with rare exceptions, fatal.

Prognosis of Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus

The symptoms of normal pressure hydrocephalus usually get worse over time if the condition is not treated, although some people may experience temporary improvements. While the success of treatment with shunts varies from person to person, some people recover almost completely after treatment and have a good quality of life. Early diagnosis and treatment improves the chance of a good recovery.

* Information provided by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).