AGCI would like you to meet Levi! Levi is 10 years old and lives in China. He loves to talk and interact with others. He has an engaging smile and he has a special need called hydrocephalus. Levi has expressed that he desires a “mommy and daddy”.
What is Hydrocephalus?
The name hydrocephalus is derived from the Greek words “hydro” meaning water and “cephalus” meaning head. So, it is a condition where there is excessive accumulation of fluid in the brain. This “fluid” is cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) — a clear fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. The pressure of the fluid against the brain tissue is what causes hydrocephalus.
There are two types of hydrocephalus:
- Congenital: Present at birth, caused by events during fetal development, or genetic abnormalities.
- Acquired: Develops during birth or afterward. This type can affect individuals of all ages and causes may include injury or disease.
What causes Hydrocephalus?
The causes are still not well understood. Possible causes include: Inherited genetic abnormalities, developmental disorders (such as those associated with spina bifida), complications of premature birth, meningitis, tumors, traumatic head injury.
What are the symptoms of Hydrocephalus?
In children, the clear indication of hydrocephalus is a rapid increase in head circumference or an unusually large head (for babies, the skull can expand to allow for the spinal fluid because the joints that connect the skull haven’t closed yet). They may also experience vomiting, fatigue, irritability, deviation of the eyes and seizures.
What are the treatment options for children with Hydrocephalus?
The most common treatment is a shunt system. The shunt is a plastic tub that is surgically inserted and diverts the flow of spinal fluid to another area of the body where it can be absorbed. But there are lots of potential complications with shunt systems (mechanical failure, infections, obstructions, overdraining or underdraining.) This is one of the main reasons we are advocating for Levi to be matched with a family as soon as possible. His need requires regular and consistent follow-up and there are many resources available for hydrocephalus within the United States.
What is the outlook for children with Hydrocephalus?
The most critical piece that affects the outlook for a child with hydrocephalus is early treatment by a team of medical professionals. If this is the case, children can benefit from therapies and interventions and go on to lead lives with few limitations. But hydrocephalus can harm cognitive and physical development and left untreated, progressive hydrocephalus can be fatal.
What complicates the outlook is that many children with hydrocephalus also have other special needs. Hydrocephalus can cause motor disabilities due to the potential brain damage that can result. The good news is Levi does not have cognitive developmental delays! He does have mild Cerebral Palsy but is able to walk on his own.
Would you join AGCI as we pray and advocate for Levi to be matched with a forever family? AGCI is also expecting 45 new referrals very soon. In these 45 referrals there are approximately 5 children with Hydrocephalus all under the age of 4 years old. If you are interested in learning more about these children please contact Briana Currey.
The following organizations provided information for this post and support children with Hydrocephalus:
National Hydrocephalus Foundation
To learn more about Levi or other children waiting for their forever family, please contact Briana Currey at 971-244-1459.