Hidden mortality of prenatally diagnosed vein of Galen aneurysmal malformation: retrospective study and review of the literature

Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2012 Dec;40(6):652-8. doi: 10.1002/uog.11188.


Objective: To evaluate the prognosis of prenatally diagnosed vein of Galen aneurysmal malformation (VGAM) in a large cohort with this condition and to review the literature on prenatally diagnosed VGAM.

Methods: This was a retrospective study of all cases of prenatally diagnosed VGAM managed in our referral center during a 12-year period. VGAM was categorized as being either isolated or associated with any other abnormality, based on fetal ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging findings. Poor outcomes comprised termination of pregnancy with confirmation of antenatal findings, perinatal death and severe cardiac and/or neurological impairment in survivors. The literature was also reviewed for similar cases.

Results: Twenty-one cases of prenatally diagnosed VGAM were managed in our center. Four (19.0%) cases were isolated and 17 (81.0%) were associated with other anomalies. There were nine terminations (42.9%) and six neonatal deaths (28.6%). Six children (28.6%) were still alive at last follow-up, of whom three had abnormal neurological development. VGAM associated with other anomalies was strongly associated with a poor outcome compared with isolated forms (P < 0.0001). One hundred and nine cases from the literature were also reviewed.

Conclusion: Fetuses with prenatally diagnosed VGAM have unexpectedly poor outcomes in the presence of cardiac or cerebral anomalies, while those with strictly isolated VGAM tend to have more favorable outcomes. Our literature review corroborates these findings.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced / statistics & numerical data
  • Adult
  • Embolization, Therapeutic / methods
  • Female
  • Fetal Death / etiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Prenatal Care / methods
  • Prenatal Diagnosis / methods
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal / methods
  • Vein of Galen Malformations / diagnosis
  • Vein of Galen Malformations / mortality*
  • Vein of Galen Malformations / therapy

Supplementary concepts

  • Vein of Galen aneurysm