Aqueductal developmental venous anomaly as an unusual cause of congenital hydrocephalus: a case report and review of the literature

J Med Case Rep. 2012 Jan 11;6:7. doi: 10.1186/1752-1947-6-7.


Introduction: Aqueductal stenosis may be caused by a number of etiologies including congenital stenosis, tumor, inflammation, and, very rarely, vascular malformation. However, aqueductal stenosis caused by a developmental venous anomaly presenting as congenital hydrocephalus is even more rare, and, to the best of our knowledge, has not yet been reported in the literature. In this study, we review the literature and report the first case of congenital hydrocephalus associated with aqueductal stenosis from a developmental venous anomaly.

Case presentation: The patient is a three-day-old, African-American baby girl with a prenatal diagnosis of hydrocephalus. She presented with a full fontanelle, splayed sutures, and macrocephaly. Postnatal magnetic resonance imaging showed triventricular hydrocephalus, suggesting aqueductal stenosis. Examination of the T1-weighted sagittal magnetic resonance imaging enhanced with gadolinium revealed a developmental venous anomaly passing through the orifice of the aqueduct. We treated the patient with a ventriculoperitoneal shunt.

Conclusions: Ten cases of aqueductal stenosis due to venous lesions have been reported and, although these venous angiomas and developmental venous anomalies are usually considered congenital lesions, all 10 cases became symptomatic as older children and adults. Our case is the first in which aqueductal stenosis caused by a developmental venous anomaly presents as congenital hydrocephalus. We hope adding to the literature will improve understanding of this very uncommon cause of hydrocephalus and, therefore, will aid in treatment.