The clivus-supraocciput angle: a useful measurement to evaluate the shape and size of the fetal posterior fossa and to diagnose Chiari II malformation

Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2001 Aug;18(2):146-9. doi: 10.1046/j.1469-0705.2001.00409.x.


Objective: To obtain a nomogram of the clivus-supraocciput angle as a basis for the diagnosis of Chiari II malformation in fetuses with ventriculomegaly.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was undertaken on 310 normal pregnant women of 16-34 weeks' gestation. A mid-sagittal section of the fetal skull was obtained and the angle between the clivus and the supraocciput was measured. Forty-four fetuses with ventriculomegaly due to various causes (13 Chiari II malformation, 12 dysgenesis of the corpus callosum, 7 aqueductal stenosis, 6 borderline ventriculomegaly, 3 Dandy-Walker malformation, 2 porencephaly, 1 schizencephaly) were also included in the study and the values of the angle found in the pathological cases were compared with those found in the normal population.

Results: The clivus-supraocciput angle did not change during gestation and was almost constant with an average value of 79.3 +/- 6 degrees. All cases of Chiari II malformation showed a value below the 5th centile of our nomogram.

Conclusions: The evaluation of the posterior fossa and particularly the measurement of the clivus-supraocciput angle is a useful parameter to differentiate the various causes of fetal ventriculomegaly and particularly to recognize Chiari II malformation.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Arnold-Chiari Malformation / diagnosis*
  • Cerebral Ventricles / abnormalities
  • Cranial Fossa, Posterior / diagnostic imaging
  • Cranial Fossa, Posterior / pathology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dandy-Walker Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal