The MR appearance of CSF flow in patients with ventriculomegaly

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1987 Jan;148(1):193-9. doi: 10.2214/ajr.148.1.193.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the MR imaging appearance of mobile CSF in the ventricular system in patients with ventriculomegaly caused by brain atrophy and extraventricular obstructive hydrocephalus. Pulsatile CSF often has decreased intensity relative to less mobile areas of CSF, particularly on T2-weighted scans. At times, the flow-related signal dropout causes striking heterogeneity in the appearance of CSF. This has been termed the CSF flow-void sign (CFVS) and is most likely caused by spin-phase shifts and time-of-flight effects created as a result of CSF turbulence and increased velocity of CSF pulsatile flow. The effect is most pronounced in areas where a larger volume of CSF moves through a small channel or foramen, such as the aqueduct of Sylvius or foramen of Magendie. The scans of 40 patients with ventriculomegaly caused by brain atrophy or extraventricular obstructive hydrocephalus were reviewed for the presence of the CFVS. All patients had the CFVS in the aqueduct of Sylvius on T2-weighted spin-echo sequences. The sign was present in the fourth ventricle in 96%, in the third ventricle in 70%, in the foramen of Magendie in 65-77%, and in the foramina of Monro in 33%. The sign was more pronounced in patients with larger ventricles but could not be used to differentiate patients with brain atrophy from those with extraventricular obstructive hydrocephalus.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Atrophy
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Cerebral Ventricles / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocephalus / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged