Purpose: To determine the prevalence and clinical significance of dilated Virchow-Robin spaces in pediatric patients.
Materials and methods: Cranial magnetic resonance (MR) studies of 1,250 children who underwent imaging during 12 consecutive months were prospectively evaluated.
Results: Thirty-seven patients had prominent Virchow-Robin spaces. The most common indications for imaging in these patients were headache (n = 10), developmental delay (n = 8), and psychiatric problems (n = 7). Medical records revealed that 12 of the 37 patients had severe headaches, 17 had moderate or severe delay in development, and 18 had serious behavioral or psychiatric problems. An association was found between presence or absence of dilated Virchow-Robin spaces and presence or absence of developmental delay (odds ratio = 4.9; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.1, 11.1; P < .001), psychiatric problems (odds ratio = 12.6; 95% CI = 5.0, 31.8; P < .001), and headaches (odds ratio = 37; 95% CI = 14.7, 93.2; P < .001).
Conclusion: There appears to be a correlation between functional neuropsychiatric disorders in children and the presence of Virchow-Robin spaces in the cerebral hemispheres at MR imaging.