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(VM) is a buildup of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) inside the ventricles of your baby's brain. Ventricles are spaces inside the brain where CSF is naturally produced. CSF is a clear, colorless fluid that protects and cushions your baby's brain. The extra CSF may cause the ventricles to widen and put pressure on your baby's brain. Too much pressure can cause brain swelling and lead to damage. VM can range from mild to severe. VM may go away on its own. Specialists can help you choose the best treatment for VM that is moderate or severe.

Signs and symptoms:

With mild VM, your baby may not have any signs or symptoms at birth. Signs and symptoms of severe VM at birth may include any of the following:

  • Wide or large head
  • Wide or full blood vessels on the scalp
  • Bulging of the soft spot on the top front of the head
  • Downward or outward position of the eyes
  • Fussiness, restlessness, or crying more than normal
  • Vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Poor feeding

Call your baby's doctor if:

  • Your baby has a fever.
  • Your baby becomes more fussy, restless, or sleepy than usual.
  • Your baby does not seem to recognize people he or she knows.
  • Your baby's symptoms return, or he or she has new symptoms.
  • You have questions or concerns about your baby's condition or care.

Treatment for VM

depends on the cause. Your baby may need treatment for an underlying medical condition. Talk to your baby's healthcare provider or a specialist about treatment options. Your baby may need the following if his or her condition is severe:

  • Shunt placement helps drain extra CSF fluid through a tube from your baby's brain into his or her abdomen where it is absorbed.
  • Ventriculostomy is surgery to help drain the extra CSF fluid through a small hole in your baby's ventricle.

Follow up with your baby's doctor as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.