Baby afflicted with hydrocephalus treated successfully in India



The two-year-old girl, Maryam from Tajikistan, underwent eight major surgeries in the last five months while receiving treatment for her medical condition called congenital hydrocephalus (megalencephaly) that was causing her brain to grow into an abnormal size.

“Maryam was born with hydrocephalus, a condition in which fluid gets collected in the brain causing an increase in the size of the head. Mobility was next to impossible for Maryam, and she had been struggling with this condition since she was one-month-old,” said Dr Sandeep Vaishya, executive director of Neurosurgery Department at Fortis Memorial Research Institute (FMRI).

Dr Vaishya managed a team of experienced neurosurgeons who diagnosed and treated Maryam. The common treatment approach for this condition was to perform a VP shunting operation. The surgery was done in Tajikistan when the patient was only 11-month-old. It helped in reducing the circumference of her head to 64 cm from 72 cm. However, the damage has already occurred in the brain and fusing the bones together, that prevented her brain size from getting reduced. The baby was also unable to hold her head up or sit.

Risks Factors

Dr Vaishya said: “We were reluctant to perform VP shunting, which involves installing a small tube in the brain to drain excess fluid as chances of improvement in such cases are extremely low and risk factors extremely high.”

But, Maryam’s family was willing to take the risk and allowed doctors to operate their kid eight times in just over five- six months.

“We managed to reduce the size of her head, but the surgery proved to be extremely challenging. We almost lost her at one point, but she fought back. Though it is still too early to say anything, we have noticed some positive changes. Her last CT scan showed good brain development, and she has started lifting her head. While there are chances of brain damage, this was also her best chance to live a nearly normal life,” said Ritu Garg, FMRI Hospital’s zonal director.

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Neha Verma

A literature student, aspiring writer, fitness enthusiast and an abstractionist, with a curious mind..


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