home : about us : ahead of print : current issue : archives search instructions : subscriptionLogin 
Users online: 5470      Small font sizeDefault font sizeIncrease font size Print this page Email this page
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 321-325

The relationship between obesity and symptomatic Chiari I malformation in the pediatric population

1 Section of Neurosurgery, The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA
2 Department of Neurosurgery, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Correspondence Address:
Sandi Lam
Department of Neurosurgery, Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children's Hospital,6701 Fannin Street, CCC 1230, Houston, TX 77030
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1817-1745.174443

Rights and Permissions

Background: Concomitant with the rise in childhood obesity in the United States is an increase in the diagnosis of Chiari I malformation (CM1). Objective: To discern a correlation between obesity and CM1, defined as >5 mm of cerebellar tonsillar descent on sagittal magnetic resonance imaging. Methods: Charts of CM1 patients aged 2–20 years were retrospectively reviewed. Chiari size, age, body mass index (BMI), and CM1 signs/symptoms were recorded. Patients were stratified by age: 2–9, 10–14, and 15–20 years. Mixed-effect linear models and linear regression analysis were applied to investigate the relationship between BMI-for-age percentiles and CM1 signs/symptoms. Results: One hundred sixty-seven patients were included (mean age 14.5 ± 2.97 years, BMI 22.98 ± 6.5, and Chiari size 12.27 mm ± 5.91). When adjusted for age, 42% were overweight or obese–higher than normative BMI for children in the studied area (29.6%). When stratified by age, patients between 2 and 9 years were most commonly obese and presented the highest mean BMI (25.66), largest Chiari size (13.58), and highest incidence of headache (75%) and syringomyelia (66.67%). Patients between 15 and 20 years were most commonly overweight and presented the smallest Chiari size (11.76 mm), but the highest incidence of cerebellar (50%) and brainstem (8.55%) compression symptoms. A significant positive correlation existed between BMI and headache in the first two age groups: (R2: 0.36, P = 0.03; R2: 0.39, P = 0.01, respectively). Obese patients had higher incidence of headache in the 10–14 group (R2: 0.37, P = 0.02) and the largest Chiari size in the 15–20 group (R2: 0.40, P = 0.03). Conclusions: The pediatric CM1 population is more likely to be overweight or obese. Younger obese patients presented the highest incidence of Chiari-related headache symptoms, and older obese patients, the highest incidence of findings other than headache. Thus, body weight and age should be considered when evaluating children with CM1.


Print this article     Email this article
 Next article
 Previous article
 Table of Contents

 Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
 Citation Manager
 Access Statistics
 Reader Comments
 Email Alert *
 Add to My List *
 * Requires registration (Free)

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded93    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal