Incidence and clinical significance of echogenic vasculature in the basal ganglia of newborns

Niva Shefer-Kaufman, Francis B. Mimouni*, Zehava Stavorovsky, Jean Jacques Meyer, Shaul Dollberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cranial sonography has become the main modality of the investigation and diagnosis of a wide variety of neonatal intracranial abnormalities. Occasionally, cranial sonograms reveal basal ganglia and thalami bright echoes. It is believed that these lesions are indicative of vasculitis due to intrauterine infections, in particular with cytomegalovirus (CMV). We hypothesized that the incidence of proven neonatal intrauterine TORCH infection is low and that screening of all asymptomatic infants with bright lenticulostriate echodensities would not be cost-effective. We reviewed brain sonograms of 3700 infants, performed over a period of 3 1/2 years. Echogenic basal ganglia vasculature were observed in 75 patients (2%). Chart review performed for clinical presentation and TORCH studies showed that only one infant had confirmed intrauterine congenital infection, which was by CMV. This infant had no signs or symptoms of CMV. In addition, there were 4 patients with chromosomal anomalies among the 75 patients (5%), of these one had trisomy 13 and another - trisomy 21. Our results indicate that echogenic basal ganglia blood vessels are not an exceptional finding on cranial sonograms, and are seldom associated with intrauterine infection. We conclude that it is not cost-effective to screen infants with echogenic basal ganglia blood vessels for intrauterine infection, unless clinical suspicion exists.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-319
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Perinatology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Basal ganglia
  • Echogenic blood vessels
  • Head sonogram
  • Intrauterine infection
  • Thalamus


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