What are physical findings of hydrocephalus in adults?

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 adults include the following:

  • Papilledema: If raised ICP is not treated, it leads to optic atrophy.

  • Failure of upward gaze and of accommodation indicates pressure on the tectal plate. The full Parinaud syndrome is rare.

  • Unsteady gait is related to truncal and limb ataxia. Spasticity in legs also causes gait difficulty.

  • Large head (macrocephaly): The head may have been large since childhood. 

  • Unilateral or bilateral sixth nerve palsy is secondary to increased ICP. Children with ventricular-peritoneal shunts may be more likely to have congenital esotropia.

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