Beneath the Skin & Skull of Hydrocephalus in Sub-Saharan Africa (Blog #2)

Read Blog #1 before you get started!

20 new cases of Hydrocephalus come into the CURE hospital of Uganda everyday. Doctors measure the heads of the patients to get an idea of how far the infant has developed within the sickness. 5 centimeters. 6 centimeters. 7. 8. 9. How much more must the head grow for the world to realize how much of a major issue this epidemic has become? 

After I released Blog 1, I got lots of questions from my classmates asking how Hydrocephalus actually the head of the infant besides the obvious growing of the head. What is going on beneath the skin? 
In the photo above, you see 2 CT scans of the brain. The one on the left is a brain affected by Hydrocephalus and the one on the right is a normal brain. In the normal brain, you can see black circles/dots within the brain. That is the regular amount of fluids a normal brain posses of. On the left, with the brain affected my hydrocephalus, you can see that there the cerebrospinal fluid, the now black blobs, within the brain have increased. What does this fluid do to the brain? Well, if you direct your attention to the outline of the brain you can see that there is a white line surrounding the brain. That is the skull. Within the skull there is a more tint gray, not the black, ...that is the brain. As the fluid builds up, the black circles in the CT scan become larger and expands. The effect of this is that there is a massive amount of pressure on the brain towards the skull. If the Hydrocephalus does go without treatment, then the pressure will increase and the baby will slowly die. 

Above is the endoscope neurosurgeons use in the Endoscopic treatments. 

The fact of the matter is is that Hydrocephalus IS curable...with the right procedure. There are usually two options when it comes to surgery and treatment of the infants in sub-Saharan Africa. Endoscopic is the first option. Endoscopic is when a camera is inserted into an incision at the most swollen part of the head. Then as the endoscope travels deeper and deeper, the doctor will slowly puncture a hole in the chambers that are holding the water to drain the fluid naturally. If the endoscopic procedure fails, then the neurosurgeon moves onto a move traditional treatment of placing in a catheter from the head to the abdomen to drain the "water" in the brain.

Both procedures are very tedious. But multiple studies have shown that the endoscopic treatment, performed in both developed and developing countries, have a lower success rate in developing countries. There are many variables to why this maybe. What is thought to be the leading cause is neonatal infections. This is also the leading cause of Hydrocephalus itself. 

In the next blog, action is going to be taken. 

Now read Blog #3!
Bibliography if needed.