Chiari malformation and sleep-disordered breathing: a review of diagnostic and management issues

Sleep. 2000 Aug 1;23(5):637-43.


Chiari Malformation (CM) encompasses several patterns of congenital or acquired cerebellar herniation through the foramen magnum. This may result in brain-stem compression that impacts control of breathing and is associated with obstructive and central apneas. A high clinical suspicion for sleep-disordered breathing is needed in the care of such patients after as well as before corrective surgery. To introduce a review of CM with a focus on the relevance to sleep medicine, we present a case of a 13-year-old female who was diagnosed with CM Type 1 in the course of an evaluation of symptomatic central sleep apnea. After initial improvement following surgery there was recurrence of brain-stem compression. The only clinical expression of which was polysomnographically evident recurrence of sleep apnea.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Arnold-Chiari Malformation / complications*
  • Arnold-Chiari Malformation / diagnosis*
  • Arnold-Chiari Malformation / surgery
  • Brain Stem / pathology
  • Decompression, Surgical
  • Encephalocele / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Neurosurgical Procedures
  • Polysomnography
  • Recurrence
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / diagnosis*
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / etiology*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / diagnosis
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / etiology