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Hydrocephalus and shunts

hydrocephalus; hydro; cephalus; shunt; ;

Inside every brain there is a clear fluid called ‘cerebrospinal fluid’ (CSF). This fluid is made inside spaces in the brain, called ventricles. The CSF flows out over the surface of the brain and down the spinal cord before being absorbed into the bloodstream. CSF provides nutrients to the brain and spinal cord and removes waste products. It also acts as a cushion to protect the brain and spinal cord.

Hydrocephalus is when children have too much CSF in the ventricles in their brain, and the ventricles get bigger and begin to cause problems.

Since the fluid is still being made by the brain, the build-up of CSF will cause pressure to rise inside the brain. This can then lead to signs of raised pressure and eventually damage to the brain, if not treated.

To find out more about hydrocephalus and shunts

Women’s and Children’s Hospital (South Australia) Department of Neurosurgery  

If your child's shunt may not be working properly

If your child’s behaviour changes or they show any signs and symptoms that the shunt may not be working properly, you will need to seek urgent medical attention, Take your child to the Women’s and Children’s Hospital Emergency Department. If you are in a rural or remote area, take your child to the nearest emergency department.

In an emergency call 000 for an ambulance.

Resource – South Australia

Women’s and Children’s Hospital
Department of Neurosurgery
72 King William Road
North Adelaide South Australia 5006
Telephone: (08) 81617230


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The information on this site should not be used as an alternative to professional care. If you have a particular problem, see a doctor, or ring the Parent Helpline on 1300 364 100 (local call cost from anywhere in South Australia).

This topic may use 'he' and 'she' in turn - please change to suit your child's sex.

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