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Childhood hydrocephalus – is radiological morphology associated with etiology

Jon Foss-Skiftesvik*, Morten Andresen and Marianne Juhler

Author Affiliations

The Department of Neurosurgery Rigshospitalet University Hospital, Blegdamsvej 9, Copenhagen 2100, Denmark

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SpringerPlus 2013, 2:11  doi:10.1186/2193-1801-2-11

Published: 12 January 2013



Clinicians use a non-standardized, intuitive approach when correlating radiological morphology and etiology of hydrocephalus.


To investigate the possibility of categorizing hydrocephalus in different groups based on radiological morphology, to analyze if these proposed groups relate to the location and type of underlying pathology, and if this can be of use in clinical practice.

Methods and material

A retrospective cohort study including 110 hydrocephalus patients below age seven seen at Rigshospitalet University Hospital, Denmark. Their neuro-imaging was analyzed and categorized based on radiological morphology. Patient charts were reviewed and possible association between the underlying cause of hydrocephalus and the proposed groups of radiological morphology was evaluated.


Radiological appearance varied distinctively between patients. A classification system was created based on the morphology of the lateral ventricles from axial sections at the level of maximal ventricular width. No statistically significant association was found between the suggested groups of morphology and the location and type of pathology.


Distinguishable patterns of radiological morphology exist. The proposed classification system cannot in its current form indicate type and location of the underlying cause of hydrocephalus. A clear need exists for a standardized approach when evaluating etiology and treatment options based on radiological results.

Congenital hydrocephalus; Magnetic resonance imaging; Computed tomography; Aqueduct stenosis; Hydrocephalus classification