Communicating hydrocephalus occurs when the cerebrospinal fluid is inefficiently absorbed back into the blood stream.
This results in significant back-pressure and enlargement of all the four ventricles. Causes of this include:
- Intracranial hemorrhage (brain bleed)
- Traumatic brain injury
Patients typically complain of headaches, vision impairment, double-vision, altered mental status and seizures. Imaging of the brain (CT or MRI) demonstrates all four ventricles to be enlarged, usually with evidence of brain compression and increased pressure.
Patients with communicating hydrocephalus benefit from placement of a ventriculoperitoneal or ventriculoatrial shunt. Depending on the etiology of the hemorrhage, specific valves are used that have MRI lock features or off-valve settings to help manage the patients through their conditions.