Fluid dynamics of the cerebral aqueduct

Erica E. Jacobson*, David F. Fletcher, Michael K. Morgan, Ian H. Johnston

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


Despite a multitude of theories describing the mechanics of the intracranial spaces in diseases such as hydrocephalus, little is known about the mechanics of normal CSF flow. A pressure difference is required to drive CSF flow. Knowing that the pressure difference driving fluid through the aqueduct is beyond the resolution of clinically used pressure transducers, a computational fluid dynamics program was used to analyze flow through an aqueduct shape. Flow through this duct was compared with that through a cylinder and through a double hourglass. Both steady and oscillating flows were tested, revealing that only 1.1 Pa of pressure is required to move CSF through the aqueduct. This suggests that normally less than 5% of the total resistance to CSF flow within the CSF pathways occurs in the aqueduct.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-236
Number of pages8
JournalPediatric Neurosurgery
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Cerebral aqueduct
  • Cerebrospinal fluid
  • Flow, CSF
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Pressure


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