A hydrocephalus prognosis is difficult to predict and is often influenced by the specific cause and type of hydrocephalus. When making the prognosis, doctors will consider whether any other problems are present, how soon the disease was identified, and how successful the treatments were. Early diagnosis and treatment improve the chance of a good hydrocephalus prognosis.
A prognosis is a prediction of the future course and outcome of a disease and an indication of the likelihood of recovery from that disease. However, it is only an estimate. When doctors discuss a patient's prognosis, they are attempting to project what is likely to occur for that individual patient.
The hydrocephalus prognosis for patients is difficult to predict, although there is some correlation between the specific cause of the hydrocephalus and the patient's outcome. Prognosis is further complicated by the presence of other problems, the timeliness of diagnosis, and the success of treatment. The degree to which decompression -- relief of cerebrospinal (CSF) pressure or buildup -- following shunt surgery can minimize or reverse damage to the brain is not well understood.
Affected individuals and their families should be aware that hydrocephalus poses risks to both cognitive and physical development. However, many children diagnosed with the disorder benefit from rehabilitation therapies and educational interventions, and go on to lead normal lives with few limitations.
Hydrocephalus treatment by a team of medical professionals, rehabilitation specialists, and educational experts is critical to a positive outcome. Left untreated, progressive hydrocephalus is fatal, with rare exceptions.
The symptoms of normal pressure hydrocephalus usually get worse over time if the condition is not treated, although some people may experience temporary improvements. While the success of shunts in treatment of hydrocephalus varies from person to person, some people recover almost completely after treatment and have a good quality of life. Early diagnosis and treatment improve the chance of a good recovery.