The sonographic diagnosis of Dandy-Walker and Dandy-Walker variant: associated findings and outcomes

Prenat Diagn. 2000 Apr;20(4):328-32.


Outcomes of pregnancies with sonographically diagnosed Dandy-Walker (DW) or Dandy-Walker variant (DWV) syndromes vary widely. We examined our own experience with these diagnoses in an effort to identify those sonographic features that best predicted neonatal outcome. We identified 50 fetuses with DW and 49 with DWV diagnosed sonographically. Eighty-six per cent of fetuses with DW and 85% of fetuses with DWV had other sonographically identifiable anomalies, the most common being ventriculomegaly (DW: 32%; DWV: 27%) and cardiac defects (DW:38%; DWV: 41%). Forty-six per cent and 36% of available karyotypes in cases of DW and DWV, respectively, were abnormal. 50 out of 99 women in our series elected pregnancy termination. Only three pregnancies with DW resulted in a living infant, and only one of these had a normal paediatric examination at six-week follow-up. Thirteen out of 49 infants with DWV survived the neonatal period and 7 of 13 were reported initially as normal infants, including six with an isolated finding of DWV. We conclude that overall, the prognosis for these posterior fossa defects is grim but not uniformly fatal. The presence of other anomalies is associated with the worst prognosis. Isolated Dandy-Walker variant has the highest chance of leading to a normal neonate.

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced
  • Brain / abnormalities
  • Congenital Abnormalities
  • Dandy-Walker Syndrome / complications
  • Dandy-Walker Syndrome / diagnostic imaging*
  • Dandy-Walker Syndrome / genetics*
  • Female
  • Fetal Death
  • Fetal Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Karyotyping
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Prognosis
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal*