Arnold-Chiari malformation is a congenital structural defect in the cerebellum where the brain connects with the spinal cord.
With this condition, the cerebellum protrudes through the bottom of the skull and into the spinal canal, disrupting the flow of protective cerebrospinal fluid. The disorder is classified according to four grades, and can be life-threatening.
While the exact cause is unknown, Arnold-Chiari malformation may have a genetic component. Additionally, it may result from infection, lack of proper nutrition and/or exposure to harmful substances during fetal development. It is typically brought to light after a child begins exhibiting developmental delays and the parent seeks medical care.
Symptoms of Arnold-Chiari Malformation
- Decreased strength and/or sensation in the arms and legs
- Balance and coordination problems
- Neck stiffness or pain
- Rapid eye movement
- Poor feeding and swallowing
- Weak cry or speech difficulties
- Respiratory problems
- Developmental delays