Ventriculomegaly is a brain condition that occurs in the fetus when the lateral ventricles become dilated.
In the brain of a healthy fetus, the lateral ventricles are less than 10 mm in diameter. In a fetus with ventriculomegaly, the lateral ventricles are between 10 and 15 mm in diameter. If they are even bigger then this is an urgent case
In most cases, ventriculomegaly has no connection with other health problems. However, a small proportion of children may have other conditions alongside it. Severe cases of ventriculomegaly may be due to hydrocephalus, with the cerebrospinal fluid accumulating and pressing against the brain.
What causes ventriculomegaly
There are three main causes: a limited absorption of cerebrospinal fluid (cerebrospinal fluid accumulates and causes hydrocephaly), incorrect brain development, and damaged brain tissue. These three factors can increase the ventricular girth in the brain.
Who can get ventriculomegaly?
Ventriculomegaly occurs in about one in a thousand babies. In some cases it is caused by a genetic abnormality. If caused by a gene deviation, this may indicate more abnormalities. Usually, however, ventriculomegaly occurs spontaneously.
How is ventriculomegaly determined?
Prenatal: Ventriculomegaly can be determined before the birth in an ultrasound examination. An ultrasound examination is used, among other things, to check the internal organs for correct function and blood and fluid flow. This can be observed with an ultrasound in the second trimester. If your doctor suspects that the ventricles have dilated, he can have prescribe an MRI scan.
Postnatal: After examination of prenatal and birth history in combination with a possible family history with regard to ventriculomegaly, it can be investigated whether there are certain chromosomal abnormalities that cause the disorder.
How is ventriculomegaly treated?
Ventriculomegaly need only be treated if there is also hydrocephaly, so when the cerebrospinal fluid accumulates due to a blockage or insufficient absorption. However, every form of ventriculomegaly needs additional examinations to keep a close eye on the condition, both before and after birth. Once the child is born, a physical examination is performed and the head circumference is checked to ensure that the child is healthy.
What is the prediction for ventriculomegaly?
The vast majority of children with ventriculomegaly will follow a completely normal development without neurological problems. The ventricles contract in about a third of children. In about 6 out of 10 children, the ventricles remain large, but they do not cause problems. If the condition is not due to chromosomal abnormalities, the prognosis is excellent.