Pubblicato il 14/06/2022

What is hydrocephalus

Hydrocephalus is a disease in which excessive accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the ventricles of the brain causes them to dilate, compressing the surrounding brain tissue. This build-up can cause damage to the surrounding brain tissue. Hydrocephalus is considered the most common form of reversible dementia.

How it manifests itself

The patient may present with many symptoms, including walking disorders, urinary incontinence and mental decay. These symptoms may be present simultaneously or in isolation. Typical complaints of the patient may be slowed walking, widened base of the feet, creeping of the feet, inability to lift the feet off the floor, bending of the upper body forward, difficulty in starting to walk. Reduced attention and concentration, reduced motor performance in fine movements, reduced reaction time, impaired short-term memory may also appear.


Diagnosis is based on a thorough clinical examination followed by neuro-radiological tests such as brain MRI.
If after examination and MRI the suspicion of hydrocephalus is confirmed, a CSF subtraction test is usually performed to see if the patient's symptoms improve. Accurate and early diagnosis is a prerequisite for avoiding severe, potentially irreversible clinical deterioration and for obtaining the best possible outcome from surgical treatment.


The treatment of hydrocephalus is essentially surgical and consists of ventricular shunting. Excess CSF can be discharged into the abdomen or right atrium using the latest generation of programmable electromagnetic valves equipped with an anti-siphon system. In some situations, minimally invasive endoscopic techniques can be used.

What we do to treat hydrocephalus at ISNB

Since 2015, a multidisciplinary study group dedicated to the research and study of hydrocephalus (Prohydro) has been active at the ISNB; within this group (composed of different specialists, such as Neurosurgeon, Physiatrist, Neurologist, Neuroradiologist, Neuropsychologist, Engineer, Nurse) clinical cases are discussed and examination results analysed.
In 2018, the ISNB was chosen as the venue for the World Congress on Hydrocephalus (www.ISHCSF.com)
In 2017, the ISNB organised a national congress on Hydrocephalus: the multidisciplinary team in comparison


Institute of Neurological Sciences
Bellaria Hospital, 
Pavilion G, floor -1,
via Altura 1/8, Bologna


Giorgio Palandri, neurosurgeon
David Milletti, physiatrist
Pietro Cortelli, neurologist
Sabina Cevoli, neurologist
Luca Albini Riccioli, neuroradiologist
Federico Oppi, neuropsychologist
Alberto Ferrari, engineer