According to a story from the Herald Sun, Matilda Mahon, an eighteen month old girl from Australia, will need to travel to the United States in order to receive treatment for hydrocephalus, a rare brain condition that could prevent her from developing properly.
A person with hydrocephalus has an unusual buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain. This can result in an increase in pressure within the skull. When the condition occurs in babies, the child’s head may rapidly and dramatically increase in size. Some symptoms include downturned eyes, vomiting, sleepiness, irritability, suture separation, and seizures. The condition may also cause damage to the brain that can affect cognition and mental development. The condition can appear as a symptom of a birth defect, but can also be caused by brain tumors and meningitis. In some cases, the child may develop hydrocephalus prior to birth. Hydrocephalus is normally treated by the installation of the shunt system. The condition can be fatal if left untreated. To learn more about hydrocephalus, click here.
Matilda, nicknamed Tilly, is slated to travel to Melbourne for surgery before heading to Boston, MA, where she will be treated at a specialist clinic. Despite her condition, her mother Jane says that Matilda maintains a good attitude and wakes up every morning with a smile on her face. Matilda was also recently diagnosed with vein of Galen malformation, which is likely responsible for her hydrocephalus. This can be a devastating complication– 77 percent of untreated patients die because of it.