, Volume 27, Issue 10, pp 1709-1721
Date: 17 Sep 2011

Hydrocephalus in neurocysticercosis

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Cysticercosis (CC) is the most important of the parasitic diseases of the central nervous system due to its high incidence in the world. CC is the infection with the larval cysts of Taenia solium. It is the most common helminthic infection of the nervous system and is endemic in most underdeveloped countries as well as in industrialized nations. It is estimated that approximately 50,000 people die every year from neurocysticercosis (NCC) worldwide.


Humans with CC are incidental intermediate hosts, which replace the pig in the life cycle of the T. solium. Children are more frequently affected by parenchyma infestation of cysticercus, of which the main clinical manifestation is epilepsy. Hydrocephalus is more common in adults and is caused by cerebrospinal fluid blockage by ventricular cysts and inflammatory reactions (ependimitis/arachnoiditis). Treatment should be individualized based on clinical presentation, degree of infestation, location and viability of cysticercus, and host response. Hydrocephalus can be controlled only by removal of obstructive intraventricular cysts or associated with either ventriculoperitoneal shunt or endoscopic third ventriculostomy. The degree of infestation and complications related to the shunt represents the most important prognostic factors in the outcome of NCC.