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May 1978

Megalencephaly in Infants and Children: The Possible Role of Increased Dural Sinus Pressure

Author Affiliations

From the Howard L. Gregor, Jr, Hydrocephalus and Spina Bifida Unit, Crittenton Hospital, Rochester, Mich, and Oakland Neurological Clinic, Professional Corp, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

Arch Neurol. 1978;35(5):306-316. doi:10.1001/archneur.1978.00500290052009

• Seven children studied because of clinical macrocephaly and suspected hydrocephalus ultimately proved to have megalencephaly apparently due to an increase in sagittal sinus venous pressure as established from infusion studies. Unexplainably, these patients were all males. All were seen initially between 2 and 8 months of age. Head enlargement exceeded two standard deviations in all seven. Pneumoencephalography, ventriculography, or computerized tomography demonstrated normal or minimally enlarged ventricles that did not progress in size. Isotope cisternography was abnormal. Studies of CSF formation and absorption demonstrated normal absorption rates but high calculated sagittal sinus pressures. Though therapy was usually not required, in one unusual infant, severe progressive macrocephaly with minimal hydrocephalus required a shunt. Another had a transient episode of acute hydrocephalus associated with a low CSF absorption rate and ventricular enlargement.

In this report, we review the intracranial hydrodynamics of benign intracranial hypertension (BIH), communicating hydrocephalus, and the pathogenesis of megalencephaly. Benign intracranial hypertension and the type of megalencephaly demonstrated by our patients appear to develop similarly except that the presence of open cranial sutures may allow a transient nonhydrostatic loading of brain parenchyma in infants, resulting in mild, nonprogressive macrocephaly.

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