Syringohydromyelia in patients with Chiari i malformation: A retrospective analysis

K. A. Gad, D. M. Yousem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The association of syringohydromyelia with Chiari I malformation has a wide range, between 23% and 80% of cases in the current literature. In our experience, this range might be overestimated compared with our observations in clinical practice. Because there is an impact of Chiari I malformation-associated syringohydromyelia on morbidity and surgical intervention, its diagnosis is critical in this patient population. Identifying related variables on the basis of imaging would also help identify those patients at risk of syrinx formation during their course of disease. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We performed a retrospective analysis of the MR imaging studies of 108 consecutive cases of Chiari I malformation. A multitude of factors associated with syrinx formation were investigated, including demographic, morphometric, osseous, and dynamic CSF flow evaluation. RESULTS: Thirty-nine of 108 (36.1%) patients with Chiari I malformation had syringohydromyelia. On the basis of receiver operating characteristic curve analysis, a skull base angle (nasion-sella-basion) of 135° was found to be a statistically significant classifier of patients with Chiari I malformation with or without syringohydromyelia. Craniocervical junction osseous anomalies (OR = 4.3, P = .001) and a skull base angle of >135° (OR = 4.8, P = .0006) were most predictive of syrinx formation. Pediatric patients (younger than 18 years of age) who developed syringohydromyelia were more likely to have associated skull base osseous anomalies than older individuals (P = .01). CONCLUSIONS: Our findings support evidence of the role of foramen magnum blockage from osseous factors in the development of syringohydromyelia in patients with Chiari I malformation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1833-1838
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology


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