Can spina bifida cause congenital hydrocephalus?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Spina bifida, one of the most common serious birth defects in the United States, has been linked to congenital hydrocephalus. Spina bifida is a neural tube defect, which is a type of fetal development problem that affects the brain, the spinal cord, and the tissue that surrounds the spinal cord. In people with spina bifida, the spinal column does not form correctly while they are a fetus. This malformation can cause a host of problems. For example, in some cases of spina bifida, a compression of the spinal cord can block the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), which is a fluid that is necessary for the normal functioning of the brain and spinal cord. This condition is known as Chiari II malformation. When the CSF is not flowing correctly, it can accumulate in the brain and cause hydrocephalus. It has been estimated that 70 to 90 percent of children with spina bifida also have hydrocephalus.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.