Dandy-Walker malformation: analysis of 38 cases

Childs Nerv Syst. 1991 Apr;7(2):88-97. doi: 10.1007/BF00247863.


Thirty-eight cases of Dandy-Walker malformation (DWM) are presented. A female predominance of 3:1 was found. Thirty-two cases (84%) were diagnosed within the 1st year of life. Of these, 17 cases (44.7%) were diagnosed at birth. Ten (26%) were delivered by cesarean section. Thirteen infants (34%) had a birth weight below 3000 g. Several associated malformations were observed, the most frequent being capillary angioma (6 cases); cardiac malformations, ophthalmic anomalies, agenesis of the corpus callosum, malformed limbs, and occipital meningocele were also seen. These observations indicate that DWM represents a disorder of the midline central nervous system indicative of marked genetic and etiologic heterogeneity with the possibility of showing clinical and pathological alterations intra- and extracranially. Macrocephaly was the most frequent physical finding, appearing in 31 cases (82%). Seventeen (44.7%) patients died, 11 before 6 months of age, 3 between 6 and 12 months, and 3 after 1 year. Postmortem studies were performed in 13 patients. Three cases have been lost to follow-up. Mental retardation (IQ below 70) was found in 11 cases (58% of survivors), low intellect (IQ between 70 and 85) in 4, and only 2 patients showed normal intellectual development (IQ more than 85). The high incidence of malformations having several genetic and environmental origins, as well as the high early mortality of patients with DWM, indicate the complexity of this syndrome, which involves the midline developmental field structures. It is not an isolated malformation of the posterior fossa in most cases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dandy-Walker Syndrome* / complications
  • Dandy-Walker Syndrome* / diagnosis
  • Dandy-Walker Syndrome* / mortality
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male