Prenatal isolated mild ventriculomegaly: outcome in 167 cases


Dr J Ouahba, Department of Prenatal Diagnosis, Hôpital Robert Debré, 48 Boulevard Sérurier, 75935 Paris Cedex 19, France. Email


Objective  To define the contribution of prenatal investigation and evaluate the prognosis of isolated mild ventriculomegaly (IMV).

Design  Retrospective study.

Setting  University hospital between January 1992 and December 2002.

Population  One hundred and sixty-seven cases of prenatal unilateral or bilateral IMV without any associated anomaly at the time of initial diagnosis.

Methods  Complementary investigations were performed: amniocentesis with karyotyping, screening for viruses and acetylcholinesterase electrophoresis, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and ultrasonography every 3–4 weeks.

Main outcome measures  Results of prenatal investigations, pregnancy outcome, and postnatal psychomotor development.

Results  IMV was diagnosed around 26.5 weeks. Amniocentesis revealed four chromosomal anomalies and two cytomegalovirus infections. MRI diagnosed brain-associated anomalies in 15 cases and ultrasonographic monitoring highlighted malformations not initially diagnosed in 28 cases. Termination of pregnancy (TOP) was considered in 21 pregnancies (12.6%). Indications were aneuploidy, fetal infectious disease or associated malformations. In women for whom a TOP was considered, consanguinity, fetus of female sex and frontal horn enlargement were statistically more frequent, ventriculomegaly was more often bilateral and asymmetrical, atrial width, and the rate of progressive ventricular enlargement were significantly higher. One hundred and one children with prenatal IMV were assessed between 19 and 127 months (mean age 54.68 ± 2.87 months). Twelve children had neurological disease or psychomotor delay and 89 children had a normal psychomotor development. Poor neurological outcome was more often associated with atrial width greater than or equal to 12 mm, asymmetrical bilateral enlargement, and progression of the ventriculomegaly.

Conclusion  The detection of IMV raises the question of the child’s psychomotor development and justifies meticulous prenatal investigation. In addition to associated anomalies, three criteria are often associated with an unfavourable outcome: atrial width greater than 12 mm, progression of the enlargement, and asymmetrical and bilateral ventriculomegaly.