What is the role of medical therapy in the treatment of hydrocephalus?

Updated: Jun 04, 2018
  • Author: Stephen L Nelson, Jr, MD, PhD, FAACPDM, FAAN, FAAP; Chief Editor: Jasvinder Chawla, MD, MBA  more...
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Medical treatment is not effective in long-term treatment of chronic hydrocephalus; it is used as a temporizing measure to delay surgical intervention. Medical therapy may be tried in premature infants with posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus (in the absence of acute hydrocephalus, repeated taps are done not only to allow for potential resolution, but also to allow the protein level to reduce low enough that it will not clog any placed shunt). Normal CSF absorption may resume spontaneously during this interim period. Medical agents include carbonic anhydrase inhibitors (eg, acetazolamide) and loop diuretics (eg, furosemide) for the treatment of hydrocephalus are controversial and should be used only as temporary measures (such as patients who already have non-programmable shunts, or when shunt placement is not able to be done at that time).

See Treatment and Medication for more detail.

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