Arnold-Chiari syndrome is a defect in the formation of the cerebellum (the small, bottom portion of the brain) and brainstem. This defect can prevent the passage of blood from the brain into the spinal canal. Arnold-Chiari syndrome is usually accompanied by a myelomeningocele, which is a form of
. There are four types of Chiari Syndrome, with different degrees of severity. Type 2 is the one that is associated with spina bifida.
Arnold-Chiari syndrome occurs during brain development before birth. The indented bony space in the lower rear of the skull is smaller than normal, so the cerebellum and brainstem are pushed downward. The reason the brain does not develop normally is not well understood.
The following conditions are commonly associated with Arnold-Chiari syndrome, but are not thought to be a cause of the disorder:
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is a vital fluid that surrounds the brain and spine. Special studies to evaluate the flow of CSF may be performed.
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan. Treatment options include the following:
Surgery is usually required to correct any obstruction in the brain.
Treatment of Symptoms
Depending on the symptoms associated with Arnold-Chiari syndrome, other treatments may be beneficial. For instance, physical or occupational therapy can help improve muscular coordination and trembling. In addition, braces or a wheelchair may be needed. Speech therapy may also be beneficial.
There is no known way to prevent Arnold-Chiari syndrome. Parents of a child with this condition may benefit from genetic counseling.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a