Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Chiari Malformation

Chiari Malformation is a condition in which brain tissue protrudes into the spinal cord. This condition occurs when part of the skull is abnormally small, and is pressing on the brain and forcing it downward. Chiari malformation is an uncommon condition, but there have been more improved tests to diagnose this condition. Chiari malformation, in the adult form, is a type I condition, that develops as the skull and the brain are growing. The symptoms for the type I condition may not occur until late childhood or late adulthood. The type II Chiari malformation form is most common in pediatric patients, and they are present at birth. The type I symptoms for Chiari malformation are: headaches, also can have sudden coughing, sneezing, or straining. Some more symptoms that are involved would be: neck pain, problems with balancing, poor hand coordination, dizziness, numbness and tingling of the hands and feet, difficulty swallowing, slurred speech, and vision problems. People with less often occurrence of this condition is: ringing or buzzing in the ears, poor bladder control, chest pain, abnormal breathing, and the curvature of the spine related to spinal cord impairment. The causes for Chiari malfromation is when the cerebellum is pushed into the upper spinal canal, it can interfere with the normal flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that protects the brain and spinal cord. With the abnormal flow of CSF it can lead to blockage of signals that are transmitted from the brain to the body. Chiari malformation in some people can be a progressive disorder and that will lead to serious complications. In other people, there might not be any symptoms. Some complications that would be included is: hydrocephalus, paralysis, syringomyelia, and death. If a patient has any symptoms that consist of head pain, you will likely undergo an MRI scan of your skull. The procedure will consist of a 3-D, high resolution images of any structural abnormalities. Contrast can also be injected and once it reaches the brain, it will enhance the MRI images. A CT scan can also be done to scan sectional images of the bone tissue that surrounds the spinal column. A treatment that can be done is surgery. Having this surgery done and it is successful, then it will reduce the pressure on the cerebellum and the spinal cord, and it will restore the normal flow of the CSF. Some risks that can come with this surgery are the possibility of infection or problems with the healing wound. After having the surgery done, your doctor will want you to have follow-up exams done to follow the outcome of the surgery.

MayoClinic. (November 2008). Chiari Malformation. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/chiari-malformation/DS00839


  1. Thanks for posting about CHIARI ~ Knowledge is power. There's an episode of HOUSE on Monday about chiari, too. Some day we will have a cure.

    thoughtfully, Lacie (braintail)

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