Developmental outcomes of children with myelomeningocele: Prenatal predictors

S. J. Coniglio, S. M. Anderson, J. E. Ferguson, Jr Fishburne, R. V. Wade, L. D. Devoe, E. O. Horger, A. H. Moffett, B. Yowell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: The purpose of the current investigation was to determine cognitive developmental outcomes for a cohort of children with prenatally detected myelomeningocele and to determine whether the variables of (1) severity of ventriculomegaly and (2) anatomic level of lesion were predictive of cognitive development. STUDY DESIGN: Prenatal ultrasonographic examinations were reviewed by a single perinatologist to determine the degree of ventriculomegaly and the anatomic level of the lesion. Ventriculomegaly was defined as a lateral ventricular atrial width > 10 mm. Anatomic level of lesion was defined as (1) thoracic, (2) high lumbar, (3) midlumbar, (4) low lumbar-high sacral, or (5) sacral. Cognitive developmental quotients for surviving children were determined by one of two developmental pediatricians with use of a modified version of the Clinical Adaptive Test/Clinical Linguistic Auditory Milestone Scale, a measure of visual-motor and language abilities. RESULTS: The mean cognitive developmental quotient for subjects with absent to mild ventriculomegaly was 90.3 (range 54 to 120, SD 17.4). Whereas the mean cognitive developmental quotient for those with moderate to severe ventriculomegaly was 74.0 (range 65 to 100, SD 17.1) (p < 0.01). There was a negative correlation between the degree of ventriculomegaly and the cognitive developmental quotient (r = -0.43, p <0.025) and a positive correlation between the level of the lesion and the cognitive developmental quotient (r= 0.50, p < 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: The degree of ventriculomegaly determined on high-resolution prenatal ultrasonography is predictive of early cognitive development in children with myelomeningocele, with worsening ventriculomegaly being associated with lower cognitive developmental quotients. The anatomic level of the lesion also has predictive value, with lower lave lesions being associated with more favorable cognitive outcomes. However, because of the high degree of variance in developmental quotients within the two ventriculomegaly groups, we advise clinicians to use caution in the interpretation and use of our data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-324
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognitive development
  • Myelomeningocele
  • Ventriculomegaly

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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