Is the lateral ventricular width to hemispheric width ratio sensitive enough to detect early or mild hydrocephalus?

E. A. Reece*, G. Pilu, I. Goldstein, C. Homko, A. Wiznitzer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: The aim of our study was to identify the normal developmental anatomy of the fetal ventricular system as well as normal growth profiles. Methods: We conducted a prospective study which included 230 normal pregnancies ranging from 15 weeks' gestation to term and 60 pregnancies with mild-to-moderate fetal hydrocephalus. Axial and coronal scans of the fetal brain were obtained and measurements of the internal diameter of the bodies of the lateral ventricles were made. Results: Clear visualization of the body of the lateral ventricle was possible in 57 of the normal cases (24.7%). Visualization of the ventricular lumen was found to depend strictly upon gestational age, occurring in 51 of 90 (57.7%) fetuses between 15 and 22 weeks, but only in 6 of 140 fetuses (4.3%) beyond 22 weeks' gestation. Normal values of the internal diameter of the body were derived. Ventricular width decreased steadily from 6.0 mm ± 1.02 at 15 weeks' gestation to 2.5 mm ± 0.70 at 22 weeks. The bodies of the lateral ventricles were rarely visualized in normal pregnancies beyond 22 weeks. The presence of intraparenchymal echoes within the brain substance, rostrad to the ventricle, lent themselves to false-negative diagnoses. Conclusions: The body of the lateral ventricle (using the so-called lateral ventricular width to hemispheric width ratio) may not be the optimum site to permit prenatal diagnosis of early or mild hydrocephalus. The atria and the posterior horns of the cerebral ventricles that are more easily and consistently visualized are preferable in evaluating the integrity of the fetal ventricular system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-136
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Maternal-Fetal Investigation
Volume4
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • hydrocephalus
  • prenatal diagnosis
  • ultrasound

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