Disease causes boy's head to swell double its size

PHOTO: Disease causes boy's head to swell double its size

A couple in China are appealing to the public to help their three-year-old son Pengwei, whose head has swollen to twice its size due to a congenital disease.

The parents from Jiangxi province are unable to afford the hefty medical fees needed for a surgery that would save the boy's life.

EastDay reported that they have exhausted their savings after spending close to 200,000 yuan (S$44,000) on medical treatment at numerous hospitals over the years.

Pengwei's head circumference measures an alarming 80cm, nearly twice the regular size of 45cm for a child of the same age.

The boy's swollen head has also caused him to be unable to walk, control his bowels or speak more than a few simple words.

He is the younger of twin boys who were born prematurely on March 8, 2012. His elder brother died 100 days after birth.

When he was six months old, Pengwei was diagnosed with hydrocephalus, a condition in which cerebrospinal fluid builds up in the cavities of the brain and causes the head to swell.

According to Mayo Clinic, the excess fluid in the brain exerts abnormally high pressure on the organ and can impair the patient's functions if left untreated.

Patients suffering from hydrocephalus usually require surgery to drain the excess fluid from the brain and redirect the flow of the fluid back to other parts of the body.

Reconstruction of the head is performed after the swelling has been reduced.

Pengwei's parents are desperate for help as his condition is deteriorating and they are unable to raise the estimated 100,000 yuan required for the surgery.

The child's mother told Jiangxi News: "I do not want to give up on my son even though I'm exhausted."

minlee@sph.com.sg