The following excerpt is taken from Chapter Four of
Hydrocephalus: A Guide for Patients, Families, and Friends
by Chuck Toporek & Kellie Robinson, copyright 1999 by
O'Reilly & Associates, Inc. For book orders/information,
call 1-800-998-9938. Permission is granted to print and
distribute this excerpt for noncommercial use as long as
the above source is included. The information in this
article is meant to educate and should not be used as an
alternative for professional medical care.
In an attempt to reduce the risk of surgery and shunt
complications, neurosurgeons have tried a variety of
non-surgical treatments to control hydrocephalus. These
treatments include a combination of different
pharmacological products, including acetazolamide (Diamox)
and furosemide (Lasix) to reduce production of CSF by the
choroid plexus, and serial lumbar punctures of the spine
to drain CSF.
Acetazolamide and furosemide, both of which are diuretics
used for treating other conditions, are given to
hydrocephalus patients to control intracranial pressure
and fluid retention. These drugs may be used to provide
temporary relief of increased ICP, but usually they are
Serial lumbar punctures are predominantly used on
premature infants who had an intraventricular hemorrhage.
Repetitive lumbar punctures are performed to drain excess
CSF within the ventricles. Often, an intraventricular
hemorrhage will block CSF flow within the ventricles or
in the basal cistern, causing non-communicating
hydrocephalus, making serial lumbar punctures ineffective.
Non-operative treatments of hydrocephalus have seen
only moderate success rates, often postponing surgery
to implant a shunt system.