Hydrocephalus Radiologic Evaluation

Norm of Hydrocephalus Radiologic Evaluation

Absence of hydrocephalus.


Usage of Hydrocephalus Radiologic Evaluation

Diagnosis of hydrocephalus and whether it is communicating or noncommunicating.


Description of Hydrocephalus Radiologic Evaluation

Under computed tomography, radionuclide (usually technetium-99m) is tagged to albumin and injected into a lumbar puncture site. The radionuclide then travels upward into the brain, where it can be observed in terms of the amount of fluid and whether the fluid is able to travel into the ventricles (communicating). Noncommunicating hydrocephalus prevents the radionuclide from traveling into the ventricles.


Professional Considerations of Hydrocephalus Radiologic Evaluation

Consent form IS required.

Increased intracranial pressure; allergic reaction to radiolabeled albumin (itching, hives, rash, tight feeling in the throat, shortness of breath, bronchospasm, anaphylaxis, death).
Previous allergy to radiolabeled albumin; increased intracranial pressure.



  1. Remove all metal objects from the client's head.
  2. Obtain a lumbar puncture tray.
  3. A CT scan is typically performed to rule out increased intracranial pressure before lumbar puncture in critically ill clients or those with changed mental status.
  4. See Lumbar puncture.



  1. Radiolabeled human serum albumin is given to demonstrate the flow of CSF from the point of the lumbar puncture up into the cranium.


Postprocedure Care

  1. Assess vital signs every 15 minutes × 4.
  2. Observe the client carefully for up to 60 minutes after the study for a possible (anaphylactic) reaction to the radionuclide.
  3. For 24 hours wear rubber gloves when discarding urine after the procedure. Wash the gloved hands with soap and water before removing the gloves. Wash the ungloved hands after gloves are removed.


Client and Family Teaching

  1. The test takes 1–2 hours.
  2. Meticulously wash hands with soap and water after each void for 24 hours.


Factors That Affect Results

  1. None.


Other Data

  1. Health care professionals working in a nuclear medicine area must follow federal standards set by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. These standards include precautions for handling the radioactive material and monitoring of potential radiation exposure.
  2. Technetium half-life is 6 hours.
  3. MRI is an additional method for imaging CNS abnormalities in fetuses.
  4. Hydrocephalus causes <5% cases of dementia.