Objective: To describe prevalence, prenatal diagnosis and outcome for fetuses and infants with congenital hydrocephalus.
Methods: Data were taken from four European registries of congenital malformations (EUROCAT). The registries included are based on multiple sources of information and include information about livebirths, fetal deaths with GA > or = 20 weeks and terminations of pregnancy for fetal anomaly (TOPFA). All cases from the four registries diagnosed with congenital hydrocephalus and born in the period 1996-2003 were included in the study. Cases with hydrocephalus associated with neural tube defects were not included in the study.
Results: Eighty-seven cases with congenital hydrocephalus were identified during the study period giving an overall prevalence of 4.65 per 10,000 births. There were 41 livebirths (47%), four fetal deaths (5%) and 42 TOPFA (48%). Nine percent of all cases were from a multiple pregnancy. Additional non-cerebral major malformations were diagnosed in 38 cases (44%) and karyotype anomalies in eight cases (9%). Median GA at TOPFA was 21 weeks. Among livebirths 61% were diagnosed prenatally at a median GA of 31 weeks (range 17-40 weeks) and median GA at birth was 37 weeks. Fourteen liveborn infants (34%) died within the first year of life with the majority of deaths during the first week after birth.
Conclusion: Congenital hydrocephalus is a severe congenital malformation often associated with other congenital anomalies. CH is often diagnosed prenatally, although sometimes late in pregnancy. A high proportion of affected pregnancies result in termination for severe fetal anomaly and there is a high mortality in livebirths.
2009 European Paediatric Neurology Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.