What is Hydranencephaly and What the Symptoms of Hydranencephaly?

CME WebsitesChild Development

Hydranencephaly is a rare condition in which the brains cerebral hemispheres are absent and replaced by sacs filled with cerebrospinal fluid.

Hydranencephaly is considered to be an extreme form of porencephaly (a rare disorder characterized by a cyst or cavity in the cerebral hemispheres).

Hydranencephaly Symptoms

Some babies may have additional abnormalities at birth including seizures, myoclonus (spasm or twitching of a muscle or group of muscles), and respiratory problems.

However, most babies appear normal at birth and parents and doctors become concerned after a few weeks when the baby becomes irritable and has increased muscle tone.

After a few months of life, seizures and hydrocephalus, which is an excessive accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain, may develop.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Visual impairment
  • Lack of growth
  • Deafness
  • Blindness
  • Paralysis
  • Intellectual deficits

What is the Cause of Hydranencephaly?

This condition may be caused by vascular infections or traumatic disorders after the 12th week of pregnancy.

Hydranencephaly Treatment

There is no specific treatment for hydranencephaly so each symptom is treated individually. Sometimes a shunt, which is a surgically implanted tube that diverts fluid from one pathway to another, is used to help a baby with the condition.