Acta Neurologica Belgica

, Volume 118, Issue 1, pp 97–103 | Cite as

Hydrocephalus in children under the age of five from diagnosis to short-/medium-/long-term progression: a retrospective review of 142 children

  • Océane Perdaens
  • Guus Koerts
  • Marie-Cécile Nassogne
Original Article


The aim of this study is to evaluate the clinical history and prognosis of children with early-onset hydrocephalus. The retrospective study’s inclusion criteria were hydrocephalus diagnosis before the age of 5 years, independent of aetiology, and birth details, January 1, 2000 to December 31, 2014. Overall, 142 children were entered into the study, divided into 11 aetiological groups: premature-birth post-intraventricular haemorrhage (16%), brain tumours (16%), spina bifida (15%), aqueductal stenosis (8%), post-meningitis (8%), post-haemorrhage (8%), Dandy–Walker malformation (6%), unknown origin (6%), arachnoid cyst (5%), miscellaneous obstruction (4%), and various causes (8%). In total, 23 patients died, primarily from the tumour group. Ventriculostomy, performed 42 times, was successful in 20 patients. Overall, 226 internal shunts were placed in 99 children. Infectious complications affected 19% of children after shunt placement and 51% after mechanical complications. Mean follow-up was 4 years 10 months, with 61% of children progressing fairly well, especially those with aqueductal stenosis, cysts, and unknown or diverse obstructive causes. Post-meningitis hydrocephalus displayed the poorest outcome. Isolated obstructive hydrocephalus exhibited better prognosis, with most obstructive aetiologies effectively treated via ventriculostomy. Children treated by shunt placement were more at risk of complications. Aetiologies with associated abnormalities and neurological sequelae had poorer outcomes.


Hydrocephalus Paediatrics Development Prognosis 



Central nervous system


Cerebrospinal fluid


Endoscopic third ventriculostomy


Post-haemorrhage hydrocephalus


Post-intraventricular haemorrhage hydrocephalus


Post-meningitis hydrocephalus


Ventriculoperitoneal shunt


Quality of life



No financial support of any institution, association or sponsor has been received to conduct this work.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical standards

The trial protocol was approved by the ethical committee of the university and the study complied with its recommendations. Owing to its retrospective nature.

Informed consent

For this type of study, formal consent is not required.


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Copyright information

© Belgian Neurological Society 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Service de Neurologie PédiatriqueUniversité catholique de Louvain, Cliniques universitaires Saint-LucBrusselsBelgium

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