PURPOSE:Brain abnormalities in patients with syndromic craniosynostosis can either be a direct result of the genetic defect or develop secondary to compression due to craniosynostosis, raised ICP or hydrocephalus. Today it is unknown whether children with syndromic craniosynostosis have normal brain volumes. The purpose of this study was to evaluate brain and ventricular volume measurements in patients with syndromic and complex craniosynostosis. This knowledge will improve our understanding of brain development and the origin of raised intracranial pressure in syndromic craniosynostosis.
METHODS:Brain and ventricular volumes were calculated from MRI scans of patients with craniosynostosis, 0.3 to 18.3 years of age. Brain volume was compared to age matched controls from the literature. All patient charts were reviewed to look for possible predictors of brain and ventricular volume.
RESULTS:Total brain volume in syndromic craniosynostosis equals that of normal controls, in the age range of 1 to 12 years. Brain growth occurred particularly in the first 5 years of age, after which it stabilized. Within the studied population, ventricular volume was significantly larger in Apert syndrome compared to all other syndromes and in patients with a Chiari I malformation.
CONCLUSIONS:Patients with syndromic craniosynostosis have a normal total brain volume compared to normal controls. Increased ventricular volume is associated with Apert syndrome and Chiari I malformations, which is most commonly found in Crouzon syndrome. We advice screening of all patients with Apert and Crouzon syndrome for the development of enlarged ventricle volume and the presence of a Chiari I malformation.
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