Fetal ventriculomegaly is the enlargement of the fluid-filled spaces of the brain called the ventricles. This type of ventriculomegaly occurs in babies before they are born.
Fetal ventriculomegaly may be caused by problems with brain development or the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). CSF is a fluid that surrounds and cushions the brain and spinal cord. Normally the fluid can move smoothly around the brain and spine. If CSF flow is slowed or stopped it can put pressure on the ventricles and make them expand.
Conditions in the baby that may increase the risk of ventriculomegaly include:
Certain infections of the mother during pregnancy can increase the risk of fetal ventriculomegaly. Infections associated with ventriculomegaly include:
Symptoms after birth may include:
Fetal ventriculomegaly is often found during a routine prenatal ultrasound. Further testing may be done by specialists and after birth.
During pregnancy, the fetus’ condition may be assessed with:
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you.
Additional ultrasounds may be done to monitor the fetus’ condition. Sometimes fetal ventriculomegaly resolves on its own.
If the condition is severe or worsens, alternative pathways will be needed to drain the CSF. This can be done by inserting a ventriculoperitoneal shunt after your child is born.
American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Women’s Health—US Department of Health and Human Services
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
Craig A, Lober R, et al. Complex fetal care: Implications of fetal ventriculomegaly: a neurosurgical perspective. NeoReviews. 2015;16;e254. Available at: http://neoreviews.aappublications.org/content/16/4/e254. Accessed June 6, 2016.
Hydrocephalus in children. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated December 21, 2015. Accessed June 6, 2016.
Pediatric Ventriculomegaly. Children’s National Health System website. Available at: http://childrensnational.org/choose-childrens/conditions-and-treatments/fetal-carepregnancy/ventriculomegaly. Accessed June 6, 2016.
Ventriculomegaly. The Fetal Treatment Center website. Available at: https://fetus.ucsfmedicalcenter.org/ventriculomegaly. Accessed June 6, 2016.
Ventriculomegaly and hydrocephaly. Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital website. Available at: http://childrens.memorialhermann.org/conditions/ventriculomegaly-and-hydrocephaly/. Accessed June 6, 2016.
Ventriculomegaly in children. Boston Children’s Hospital website. Available at: http://www.childrenshospital.org/conditions-and-treatments/conditions/ventriculomegaly. Published 2012. Accessed June 6, 2016.
Last reviewed June 2016 by Karri Kassir, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.