Perinatal and long-term outcomes in fetuses diagnosed with isolated unilateral ventriculomegaly: systematic review and meta-analysis

Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2017 Apr;49(4):450-459. doi: 10.1002/uog.15943. Epub 2017 Feb 28.


Objectives: The majority of studies on fetal ventriculomegaly have focused on the perinatal and long-term outcomes in fetuses with an antenatal diagnosis of bilateral ventriculomegaly. The aim of this study was to undertake a systematic review and meta-analysis to quantify the perinatal and long-term outcomes in fetuses diagnosed in the second or third trimester of pregnancy with isolated unilateral ventriculomegaly.

Methods: MEDLINE, EMBASE and The Cochrane Library were searched electronically. Outcomes investigated included incidence of aneuploidy, congenital infection, progression of ventriculomegaly, associated brain and extracerebral abnormalities in the apparently isolated cases and neurodevelopmental delay in both apparently and truly isolated cases. Sensitivity analysis was performed according to whether the ventriculomegaly was mild/moderate (atrial width < 15 mm) or severe (atrial width ≥ 15 mm). Reference lists within relevant articles and reviews were hand-searched for additional reports. Cohort and case-control studies were included. Meta-analysis of proportions was used, and between-study heterogeneity was assessed using the I2 test.

Results: The search yielded 2053 citations. The full text was retrieved for 202, and 11 studies were included in the systematic review. In fetuses with apparently isolated unilateral ventriculomegaly, no chromosomal abnormalities were identified and the pooled prevalence of congenital infection was 8.2% (95% CI, 3.6-14.5%). The pooled prevalence of additional brain abnormalities detected prenatally and postnatally by magnetic resonance imaging was 5.1% (95% CI, 0.2-16.1%) and 6.4% (95% CI, 0.3-19.4%), respectively. The pooled prevalence of abnormal neurodevelopment was 5.9% (95% CI, 2.2-11.2%) in apparently isolated cases with an atrial width of < 15 mm, and it was 7.0% (95% CI, 3.2-12.2%) in fetuses with truly isolated unilateral ventriculomegaly. Most cases with apparently isolated ventriculomegaly were classified as mild/moderate (93.5%) and therefore the outcomes in this group were similar to those in the whole cohort of apparently isolated ventriculomegaly.

Conclusions: The prevalence of aneuploidy, congenital infection and neurodevelopmental delay in fetuses with a prenatal diagnosis of isolated unilateral ventriculomegaly is likely to be low. Copyright © 2016 ISUOG. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Keywords: long-term outcome; neurodevelopmental delay; perinatal outcome; prenatal diagnosis; unilateral ventriculomegaly.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aneuploidy
  • Congenital Abnormalities / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Fetal Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocephalus / diagnostic imaging*
  • Infections / congenital*
  • Infections / epidemiology
  • Neurodevelopmental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Perinatal Care
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Second
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Third
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal / methods