MR evaluation of Chiari I malformations at 0.15 T

E. Spinos, D. W. Laster, D. M. Moody, M. R. Ball, R. L. Witcofski, D. L. Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Twelve patients with known or presumed Chiari I malformations and two with clinical diagnoses of multiple sclerosis were examined by magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. MR confirmed or established the diagnosis of Chiari I malformation in all 14 cases. The spin-echo technique with a short time to echo (TE = 40 msec) and a short time to recover (TR = 1000 msec) provided optimum imaging of tonsillar position, hydromyelia cavities, and cervicomedullary 'kinking'. Long TE (>80 msec) and TR (>2000 msec) increase the signal intensity of cerebrospinal fluid and may obscure the pathology. Sagittal, transaxial, and coronal images provided complementary data; sagittal and coronal views best imaged the abnormal spinal cord and tonsils, but slitlike cavities were best seen on transaxial images. Cervicomedullary kinking was found in 10 (71%) of 14 patients and in 90% of the hydromyelic patients. This high incidence suggests that in other radiologic techniques tonsillar herniation masks the kinking. Symptoms of the Chiari I malformation overlap those of demyelinating diseases and brain tumors. Our early experience suggests MR is the preferred noninvasive procedure for identifying Chiari I malformation. Moreover, the ability to portray the variable cavity morphology of hydromyelia directly offers the potential for improved shunt placement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1143-1148
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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