Dandy-Walker variant

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Bryan College of Health Sciences
Fetal anatomy scans are one of the most important tools in evaluating a fetus for abnormalities. A primary focus of the fetal ultrasound is the brain. Ultrasound of the fetal brain can detect abnormalities in the brain like those with characteristics that fall under the dandy-walker complex. Detection of a brain abnormality can alert the obstetrics doctor and the imaging team that there may be abnormalities elsewhere in the body. Detecting abnormalities early can place the patient under a high-risk pregnancy flag and get the patient to maternal fetal medicine for further assessment and counseling. This case study looks at a pregnant patient coming to her initial 20-week fetal anatomy scan. Findings of an abnormal cerebellum and suboptimal views of the face and heart prompted a recommendation to the maternal fetal medicine clinic for a follow-up. Dandy-Walker malformation falls under the category of dandy-walker complex, it is the most common malformation of the cerebellum. After being referred to the maternal fetal medicine clinic the patient had a detailed fetal anatomy ultrasound. This confirmed the finding of an abnormal cerebellum consistent with dandy-walker variant. A hypoplastic or absent nasal bone was also discovered and because of the patient’s advanced maternal age raised the probability of the fetus having Down Syndrome. Following the referral to maternal fetal medicine, the team at MFM closely monitored the patient due to maternal factors that placed her in a high-risk category. Detection of this abnormality allowed the patient to receive many options and the level of care and counseling necessary following a diagnosis of dandy-walker variant and Down Syndrome.
Dandy-Walker Syndrome, Cerebellar diseases, Ultrasonography, prenatal
Heckathorn, M. (2019). Dandy-Walker variant [Diagnostic Medical Sonography Capstone presentation]. Lincoln, NE : Bryan College of Health Sciences.