The use of gated cine phase contrast and MR venography in achondroplasia

Childs Nerv Syst. 2000 Sep;16(9):569-75; discussion 575-7. doi: 10.1007/PL00007299.


Objects: Foramen magnum and jugular foramen stenosis, well-known problems in achondroplasia, may result in brain stem compression and venous outflow obstruction, respectively. We studied a series of children with achondroplasia using gated cine phase contrast (PC) CSF flow studies to evaluate CSF dynamics across the foramen magnum and MR venography (MRV) to depict obstructed venous drainage.

Methods: Ten patients (9 months to 11 years, mean 2.85 years) were referred for possible brain stem compression. MRI included routine sequences, cine PC with velocity encoding (VENC) = 5 cm/s, and MRV. Six patients, including the asymptomatic patient, had brain stem compression without tonsillar herniation; two had tonsillar herniation; and two had neither brain stem compression nor tonsillar herniation. Abnormal tonsillar movement was seen only with tonsillar herniation. MRV showed steno-occlusive disease of the internal jugular vein (IJV) in nine patients, sigmoid sinus in four, and absent or hypoplastic transverse sinus in seven. Veno-occlusive disease was not progressive. No patient had massive hydrocephalus, although larger ventricles were associated with more profuse venous collateral formation and more severe degrees of IJV stenosis. Three patients have undergone CSF diversion.

Conclusions: MR imaging may be useful in defining the pathophysiology of brain stem compression and hydrocephalus in achondroplasia.

MeSH terms

  • Achondroplasia / diagnosis*
  • Brain Stem / pathology
  • Cerebral Ventricles / pathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Constriction, Pathologic / pathology
  • Foramen Magnum / pathology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Cine / methods*
  • Phlebography / methods*