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Radiologe. 2012 Sep;52(9):813-20. doi: 10.1007/s00117-012-2334-z.

[Hydrocephalus in childhood : causes and imaging patterns].

[Article in German]

Author information

  • 1Institut für Klinische Radiologie, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, München, Deutschland.



Causes and imaging patterns of hydrocephalus differ depending on the age of the patient. Traditionally, hydrocephalus was classified into non-communicating and communicating hydrocephalus but more recent classifications also take the site of occlusion and the etiology into account.


For the diagnostic work-up computed tomography (CT), sonography and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are available and MRI is the method of choice for children and adolescents as it allows determination of the cause and location of a possible obstruction. In the first 12-18 months sonography allows evaluation of the lateral ventricles and the third ventricle and CT is usually only chosen in children in emergency situations and/or if no other modality is available.


We retrospectively evaluated a population of 785 children and adolescents (426 males aged 0-17 years) referred for MRI between April 2009 and March 2012 due to headaches, somnolence, concentration difficulties or developmental delay. Among these 80 (49 male) met the MRI criteria for hydrocephalus, 75 (46 male) had non-communicating hydrocephalus and 5 (3 male) communicating hydrocephalus. Of the patients 24 (15 male) had posthemorrhagic aqueductal stenosis, 16 (8 male) intracranial tumors, 9 (6 male) Chiari II malformations, 5 (4 male) other congenital malformations including malformations of the Dandy Walker spectrum, 9 (3 male) idiopathic aqueductal stenosis, 7 (5 male) arachnoidal cysts and 10 (8 male) other disorders, such as post-infections, macrocephaly cutis marmorata telangiectatica congenita (M-CMTC) syndrome, mesencephalic arteriovenous malformation (AVM), Langerhans cell histiocystosis.


It is important to take the age of the patient and the imaging pattern into account and to exclude tumors when reporting MR images of children with hydrocephalus.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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