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AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2016 Apr;37(4):755-8. doi: 10.3174/ajnr.A4597. Epub 2015 Nov 19.

The Cervical Spinal Canal Tapers Differently in Patients with Chiari I with and without Syringomyelia.

Author information

1
From the Departments of Radiology (A.T., A.M.d.R., V.H.).
2
Department of Radiology (N.M., G.W.), Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts.
3
Department of Radiology (J.R.H.), University of California San Diego, San Diego, California.
4
From the Departments of Radiology (A.T., A.M.d.R., V.H.) Medical Physics (A.M.d.R.), University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, Wisconsin.
5
From the Departments of Radiology (A.T., A.M.d.R., V.H.) vmhaughton@wisc.edu.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:

The cause of syringomyelia in patients with Chiari I remains uncertain. Cervical spine anatomy modifies CSF velocities, flow patterns, and pressure gradients, which may affect the spinal cord. We tested the hypothesis that cervical spinal anatomy differs between Chiari I patients with and without syringomyelia.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

We identified consecutive patients with Chiari I at 3 institutions and divided them into groups with and without syringomyelia. Five readers measured anteroposterior cervical spinal diameters, tonsillar herniation, and syrinx dimensions on cervical MR images. Taper ratios for C1-C7, C1-C4, and C4-C7 spinal segments were calculated by linear least squares fitting to the appropriate spinal canal diameters. Mean taper ratios and tonsillar herniation for groups were compared and tested for statistical significance with a Kruskal-Wallis test. Inter- and intrareader agreement and correlations in the data were measured.

RESULTS:

One hundred fifty patients were included, of which 49 had syringomyelia. C1-C7 taper ratios were smaller and C4-C7 taper ratios greater for patients with syringomyelia than for those without it. C1-C4 taper ratios did not differ significantly between groups. Patients with syringomyelia had, on average, greater tonsillar herniation than those without a syrinx. However, C4-C7 taper ratios were steeper, for all degrees of tonsil herniation, in patients with syringomyelia. Differences among readers did not exceed differences among patient groups.

CONCLUSIONS:

The tapering of the lower cervical spine may contribute to the development of syringomyelia in patients with Chiari I.

PMID:
26585256
DOI:
10.3174/ajnr.A4597
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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