Sampson MA, Berg AD, Huber JN, Olgun G. Necessity of Intracranial Imaging in Infants and Children With Macrocephaly. Pediatr Neurol. 2019 Apr;93:21-26.
Macrocephaly is frequently encountered in pediatrics and often leads to imaging. There are no recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics or the American College of Radiology providing imaging guidelines for macrocephaly. The goal of this study is to identify risk factors for pathologic macrocephaly and to aid the clinician in identifying patients that would benefit from imaging.
We conducted a medical record review throughout a multistate health care system, Sanford Health, from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2016. Patients with macrocephaly were identified by problem list in children aged less than 36 months. Data collection included basic demographics, imaging modality, developmental delay, prematurity, seizures, focal neurological symptoms, family history of macrocephaly, sedation used, and sedation complications.
A total of 169 patients were included in the analysis. Imaging modalities included 39 magnetic resonance imagings (23.1%), 47 cranial computed tomographies (27.8%), and 83 head ultrasounds (49.1%). Imaging results demonstrated 13 abnormal studies with five of those studies being abnormal with high clinical yield. Patients with abnormal studies were more likely to have developmental delay (P = 0.04) or neurological symptoms (P = 0.015). Positive family history of macrocephaly was predictive of normal imaging (P = 0.004). There were no sedation complications.
Intracranial imaging does not appear to be necessary in children with no risk factors and or a positive family history of macrocephaly. Risk factors such as developmental delay or neurological symptoms could identify children at risk for imaging abnormalities that require further management.