Fetal ventriculomegaly is the widening of the fluid-filled spaces of the brain. These are called the ventricles. It happens in babies before they are born.
It may be caused by problems with how the brain grows. It may also be caused by the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). This fluid surrounds and cushions the brain and spinal cord. It should move smoothly. If its flow is slowed or stopped, it can put pressure on the ventricles and make them get bigger.
Things that may raise the risk of this problem in a child are:
Bleeding within the brain
A rare birth defect called agenesis of the corpus callosum
Certain infections of the pregnant mother can raise the risk. These are:
Craig A, Lober R, et al. Complex fetal care: Implications of fetal ventriculomegaly: a neurosurgical perspective. NeoReviews. 2015;16;e254. Available at: http://neoreviews.aappublications.org/content/16/4/e254. Accessed November 4, 2020.
Hydrocephalus in children. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/hydrocephalus-in-children. Accessed November 4, 2020.
Pediatric ventriculomegaly. Children’s National Health System website. Available at: http://childrensnational.org/choose-childrens/conditions-and-treatments/fetal-carepregnancy/ventriculomegaly. Accessed November 4, 2020.
Ventriculomegaly and hydrocephaly. Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital website. Available at: http://childrens.memorialhermann.org/conditions/ventriculomegaly-and-hydrocephaly. Accessed November 4, 2020.
Ventriculomegaly in children. Boston Children’s Hospital website. Available at: http://www.childrenshospital.org/conditions-and-treatments/conditions/ventriculomegaly. Accessed November 4, 2020.
Wright Z, Larrew TW, et al. Pediatric Hydrocephalus: Current State of Diagnosis and Treatment. Pediatr Rev. 2016 Nov;37(11):478-490.
Last reviewed September 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board
Kari Kassir, MD
Last Updated: 5/11/2021
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.