Schizencephaly: Correlations of clinical and radiologic features

A. Maurine Packard, Van S. Miller, Mauricio R. Delgado

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137 Scopus citations


Schizencephaly is an uncommon congenital disorder of cerebral cortical development. Although a well-recognized cause of seizures and developmental deficits in children, previous reports describe the range of neurodevelopmental outcome in only 47 patients. We report the clinical and cranial imaging features of 47 children with unilateral open-lip (17), unilateral closed-lip (12), bilateral open-lip (12), and bilateral closed- lip (6) schizencephaly, as defined radiologically. The schizencephalic cleft occurred more often in the anterior than in the posterior neocortex. Children with closed-lip schizencephaly presented with hemiparesis or motor delay whereas patients with open-lip schizencephaly presented with hydrocephalus or seizures. Forty-three patients (91%) had associated cerebral developmental anomalies, most commonly absence of the septum pellucidum (45%) and focal cortical dysplasia (40%). There was a history of seizures in 57% of cases, a third of which were classified as difficult to control. Neurodevelopmental outcome was generally poor, with 51% of patients (24/47) having severe deficits, 32% of patients (15/47) having moderate impairment, and 17% of patients (8/47) having mild or no problems. Patients with closed-lip schizencephaly were more likely to have a mild to moderate outcome than those with open-lip type (78% versus 31%;p < 0.05). Children with unilateral schizencephaly had a mild or moderate outcome more frequently than those with bilateral lesions (62% versus 28%; p < 0.05). Children who had involvement of a single lobe accounted for 88% of those with mild outcomes and 53% of those with moderate outcomes. Unilateral closed-lip schizencephaly was associated with the best neurodevelopmental outcome; in contrast, 11 of 12 children with bilateral open-lip clefts had severe disabilities. Language development was significantly more likely to be normal in those children with unilateral schizencephaly than in those with bilateral clefts (48% versus 6%; p < 0.002). Thus, the presentation and outcome of children with schizencephaly are quite variable but are related to the extent of cortex involved in the schizencephalic defect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1427-1434
Number of pages8
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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