What are the Symptoms of Hydranencephaly

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Oct 05, 2012

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Quick Bites

  • Infants with hydranencephaly may appear normal at birth.
  • Seizures and visual impairments may occur.
  • Some infants may display no obvious symptoms at birth.
  • Hydranencephaly cannot be cured with any definitive treatment.

Hydranencephaly is a rare condition in which the brain's cerebral hemispheres are absent and replaced by sacs filled with cerebrospinal fluid. An infant with hydranencephaly may appear normal at birth. The infant's head size and spontaneous reflexes such as sucking, swallowing, crying, and moving the arms and legs may all seem normal.

Symptoms of Hydranencephaly


  • Normal head size (at birth but enlarges with age)
  • Normal reflexes
  • Seizures
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Visual impairment
  • Lack of growth
  • Deafness
  • Blindness
  • Spastic quadriparesis
  • Intellectual deficits
  • Myoclonus
  • Respiratory problems
  • Irritability
  • Spasticity of arms
  • Spasticity of legs
  • Poor body temperature control
  • Impaired vision
  • Mental retardation
  • Involuntary muscle contractions
  • Respiratory failure

Some infants may have additional abnormalities at birth including seizures, myoclonus (involuntary sudden, rapid jerks), limited thermoregulation abilities, and respiratory problems.

Symptoms of Hydranencephaly

Still other infants display no obvious symptoms at birth, going many months without a confirmed diagnosis of hydranencephaly. In some cases a severe hydrocephalus, or other cephalic conditions, diagnosis is misdiagnosed.

Hydranencephaly cannot be cured with any definitive treatment. Only the symptoms of it can be treated to provide relief and also the treatment is supportive in nature. Hydrocephalus may be treated with a shunt (a surgically implanted tube that diverts fluid from one pathway to another).

Image Courtesy: Getty

Read more articles on Hydranencephaly.


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