What are physical findings of hydrocephalus in infants?

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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Physical findings in infants include the following:

  • Head enlargement: Head circumference is at or above the 98th percentile for age. or an increase rapidly across percentiles on the head growth curve.

  • Dysjunction of sutures: This can be seen or palpated.

  • Dilated scalp veins: The scalp is thin and shiny with easily visible veins.

  • Tense fontanelle: The anterior fontanelle in infants who are held erect and are not crying may be excessively tense.

  • Setting-sun sign: In infants, it is characteristic of increased intracranial pressure (ICP). Ocular globes are deviated downward, the upper lids are retracted, and the white sclerae may be visible above the iris.

  • Increased limb tone: Spasticity preferentially affects the lower limbs. The cause is stretching of the periventricular pyramidal tract fibers by hydrocephalus.

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