Diagnosing Arrested Hydrocephalus

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Adult Hydrocephalus Program

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Minor narrowing of the channel between the third and fourth ventricles may not produce any symptoms, other than a slightly enlarged ventricle. Therefore, brain imaging may be the first indication an adult has aqueductal stenosis and may develop arrested hydrocephalus. A neurologist may order those images for an unrelated reason or because the patient has talked about symptoms that might suggest hydrocephalus.

CT scans are able to identify the enlarged ventricles that are typical of hydrocephalus. They cannot always provide an explanation as to why the ventricles are enlarged. If the third ventricle is enlarged but the fourth ventricle is normal, the neurologist or neurosurgeon may order additional testing and imaging to confirm the diagnosis of arrested hydrocephalus.

Those tests may include:

  • Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flow studies to evaluate how CSF is traveling through the brain
  • MRI to look specifically for aqueductal stenosis and to measure the volume of CSF