The medical bit

Harry has Hydrocephalus which, in his case, is caused by an Arachnoid Cyst. The cyst was discovered during a routine scan when I was 36 weeks pregnant.

What is an Arachnoid Cyst?

Arachnoid Cysts are sacs, filled with cerebrospinal fluid. They can grow in between the brain or spinal cord and the arachnoid membrane that covers them. 

We have been told that Arachnoid Cysts are actually quite common and, in most cases, cause very few problems.

https://arachnoidcyst.co.uk/what-are-arachnoid-cysts%3F

What is Hydrocephalus?

Hydrocephalus is, put simply, a condition which results in an excessive build-up of fluid in the brain. Although Hydrocephalus was once known as “water on the brain,” the “water” is actually cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) — a clear fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. If too much CFS builds up, this causes an abnormal widening of spaces in the brain. This widening creates potentially harmful pressure on the tissues of the brain.

https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Hydrocephalus-Fact-Sheet

How is Hydrocephalus treated? 

Harry lives with a permanent VP Shunt.  

Babies born with Hydrocephalus (congenital) and adults or children who develop it (acquired) usually need prompt treatment to reduce the pressure on their brain.  If Hydrocephalus isn’t treated, the increase in pressure will cause brain damage. Both congenital and acquired hydrocephalus are treated with either shunt surgery or neuroendoscopy.

During shunt surgery, a thin tube called a shunt is placed in the brain. The excess CSF in the brain then flows through the shunt to another part of the body (usually the tummy). From here, it’s absorbed into the bloodstream. There’s a valve inside the shunt that controls the flow of CSF so that it doesn’t drain too quickly. You can feel the valve as a lump under Harry’s skin on the back of his head can sometimes see the tubing in his neck.

We have launched Harry’s HAT (Hydrocephalus Awareness Trust) in a bid to address some of the issues and challenges which we have found since Harry’s (and therefore our) journey began.

To learn more please click here.

Or visit our website www.harrys-hat.org

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