Intracranial anomalies and cloacal exstrophy - Is there a role for screening?

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Background/Purpose Cloacal exstrophy (CE) is a severe multi-system congenital defect. While spina bifida is a defining feature of cloacal exstrophy, patients are not routinely screened for intracranial anomalies (ICAs). We sought to better characterize this risk of ICA in the CE patient. Methods We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of 81 children with CE treated at our institution, identifying intracranial pathology, including hydrocephalus, Chiari malformation and craniosynostosis. Data points included ICA, neural tube defect, surgical procedures, and ambulatory status. Results Of the 39 patients with cranial imaging, 31% had an ICA: 6 hydrocephalus, 3 Chiari malformation, 1 craniosynostosis, 1 hydrocephalus and craniosynostosis, and 1 Chiari malformation and craniosynostosis. All patients with ICAs had spina bifida. Patients with ICAs underwent more neurosurgical procedures, including more spinal procedures. Patients with ICAs were much more likely to be wheelchair-bound or ambulate minimally when compared to patients without anomalies. Conclusion In our population of CE patients with available head imaging, 31% had an ICA, thus screening would seem prudent. As all patients with ICAs had spina bifida, it may be less important to screen those rare CE patients without spinal pathology. Patients with ICAs were more likely to be wheelchair-bound, suggesting worse neurologic outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2256-2260
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of pediatric surgery
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2013


  • Chiari malformation
  • Cloacal exstrophy
  • Hydrocephalus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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