The Dandy-Walker variant: a case series of 24 pediatric patients and evaluation of associated anomalies, incidence of hydrocephalus, and developmental outcomes

J Neurosurg Pediatr. 2008 Sep;2(3):194-9. doi: 10.3171/PED/2008/2/9/194.


Object: The Dandy-Walker complex is a continuum of aberrant development of the posterior fossa that has been associated with multiple congenital anomalies, radiographic abnormalities, and developmental delay. The Dandy-Walker variant (DWV) is a unique entity believed to represent a milder form of the complex, and is characterized by a specific constellation of radiographic findings. In this retrospective case series, the authors report the association of the DWV with other congenital anomalies, the associated radiographic findings linked with DWV, and the developmental outcome in this population.

Methods: The charts and radiographs of 10 male and 14 female patients treated between 2000 and 2006 were examined. The patients' mean gestational age was 35.6 weeks (range 23-41 weeks), and the mean follow-up period was 5.1 years (range 1 month-15 years).

Results: Three patients died. Associated anomalies included cardiac (41.7%), neurological (33.3%), gastrointestinal (20.8%), orthopedic (12.5%), and genitourinary (12.5%) abnormalities. Less common were pulmonary and psychiatric findings. Developmental delay was identified in 11 of the 21 patients for whom follow-up was available. Five of 6 patients with isolated DWV had a normal developmental course. Radiographic findings associated with DWV included corpus callosum dysgenesis in 20.8%, ventricular enlargement in 29%, and vermian rotation in 8.3%. Shunts were placed in 4 of 7 patients with ventriculomegaly. Using the two-tailed Pearson correlation, the authors determined that developmental outcome was solely affected by neurological deficits and that ventricular enlargement predicted the need for shunt placement.

Conclusions: The DWV was associated with both extra- and intracranial anomalies. Associated radiographic abnormalities including ventriculomegaly were observed. Hydrocephalus requiring cerebrospinal fluid diversion may be indicated. Isolated DWV was associated with a good developmental outcome.

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Multiple / epidemiology
  • Adolescent
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Comorbidity
  • Cranial Fossa, Posterior
  • Dandy-Walker Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Dandy-Walker Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Developmental Disabilities / diagnosis
  • Developmental Disabilities / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Hydrocephalus / diagnosis
  • Hydrocephalus / epidemiology*
  • Hydrocephalus / surgery*
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Urogenital Abnormalities / epidemiology
  • Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt