October 16, 2015

Congenital Hydrocephalus occurs when excess cerebrospinal fluid builds up in the brain at birth. The extra fluid can increase pressure in the brain of a baby, which can cause brain damage, as well as mental and physical problems. Although this condition is rare, the long-term effects can be devastating. Hydrocephalus can occur later on in life, but the term “congenital hydrocephalus” refers to hydrocephalus that is present at birth.

Effects of congenital hydrocephalus vary depending on a variety of factors, including the cause of the fluid build-up, how severe the condition becomes, and how the baby responds to treatment.

A recent study showed that repeated autologous family cord blood infusions are feasible in infants suffering from congenital hydrocephalus, carrying no acute safety concerns. The use of cord blood in treating this condition was first tested in animal models of brain hypoxia and stroke. Positive results led to clinical trials of brain injury in both adults and children. These trials showed that stem cells collected by family cord banking services are viable for use in treating infants suffering from congenital hydrocephalus.

The aforementioned study treated 76 patients with congenital hydrocephalus from October 2006 through August 2014. 143 autologous cord blood infusions were given to these patients, with most babies receiving multiple doses—two, three, or four. In all cases, there were no negative side effects from the infusions themselves. All of the babies experienced developmental delays, but this was expected by the researcher’s conduction the study.

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