Dilated cerebral venous system observed in growth-restricted fetuses

J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2018 May;31(10):1369-1372. doi: 10.1080/14767058.2017.1315097. Epub 2017 Apr 20.


Purpose: The dilation of the fetal cerebral veins is a rare phenomenon that may be associated to a bad obstetric outcome, and is usually connected to antenatal thrombosis of the posterior dural venous sinuses. There are several descriptions of cerebral vein distension on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), but all of them are detected postnatally. We present herein two cases of fetal antenatal cerebral dilation of the venous system, without any association to any sign of vein thrombosis, and a systematic review of literature regarding pathogenesis, diagnosis and outcomes associated to the antenatal detection of this condition with the use of MRI.

Materials and methods: To identify potentially eligible studies, we searched PubMed, Scopus, Cochrane Library (all from inception to October 20th, 2016) and applied no language restrictions.

Results: The electronic database search provided a total of 22,843 results. After the exclusion of duplicates, manuscripts that resulted not relevant to the review based on title and abstract screening, and analysis of manuscripts eligible for full-text assessment, no papers were found related to the subject reported in the present manuscript.

Conclusions: Our report adds importance to MRI as a tool in cases of complex ultrasound finding with the presence of fetal heart failure and deterioration of fetal growth, in order to improve the prognostic evaluation and patient?s counseling.

Keywords: Cerebrovascular circulation; IUGR; MRI; fetal brain.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cerebral Veins / abnormalities*
  • Cerebral Veins / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebral Veins / embryology
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation*
  • Cesarean Section
  • Dilatation, Pathologic / diagnostic imaging
  • Dilatation, Pathologic / embryology
  • Female
  • Fetal Death
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / diagnostic imaging*
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / physiopathology
  • Fetal Heart / abnormalities*
  • Fetal Heart / diagnostic imaging
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Pre-Eclampsia
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Twin
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal
  • Vena Cava, Inferior / abnormalities*
  • Vena Cava, Inferior / diagnostic imaging
  • Vena Cava, Inferior / embryology