ComplicationsBy Mayo Clinic staff
CLICK TO ENLARGE
|Syringomyelia cyst (syrinx) in the spinal cord|
In some people, Chiari malformation can become a progressive disorder and lead to serious complications. In others, there may be no associated symptoms, and no intervention is necessary. The complications associated with this condition include:
- Hydrocephalus. This accumulation of excess fluid within the brain may require placement of a flexible tube (shunt) to divert and drain the cerebrospinal fluid to another area of the body.
- Paralysis. This may occur because of the crowding and pressure on the spinal cord. Paralysis tends to be permanent, even after surgical treatment.
- Syringomyelia. Some people with Chiari malformation also develop a condition called syringomyelia, in which a cavity or cyst (syrinx) forms within the spinal column. Although the mechanism connecting Chiari malformation with syringomyelia is unclear, it may be associated with injury or displacement of nerve fibers in the spinal cord. When a cavity forms, it tends to be filled with fluid and can additionally impair the function of the spinal cord.
- Death. When a child is born with Chiari malformation type IV, death is common, usually early in infancy.
- NINDS Chiari malformation information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/chiari/chiari.htm. Accessed Sept. 23, 2010.
- Chiari malformation. American Association of Neurological Surgeons. http://www.aans.org/Patient%20Information/Conditions%20and%20Treatments/Chiari%20Malformation.aspx. Accessed Sept. 24, 2010.
- Syringomyelia. American Syringomyelia and Chiari Alliance Project. http://www.asap.org/index.php/disorders/syringomyelia/. Accessed Sept. 24, 2010.
- Developmental diseases of the nervous system. In: Ropper AH, et al. Adams and Victor's Principles of Neurology. 9th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2009. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=3637082. Accessed Sept. 24, 2010.