Neonatal hydrocephalus: an atypical presentation of malignant infantile osteopetrosis

Angela Lee, Samuel Cortez, Peter Yang, Diane Aum, Prapti Singh, Catherine Gooch, Matthew Smyth

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose: Autosomal recessive osteopetrosis has a variable presentation, most commonly including failure to thrive, hypocalcemia, seizures, hepatosplenomegaly, hydrocephalus, vision or hearing loss, and cytopenias. Multiple symptoms are usually seen at presentation. The variability of presentation often delays diagnosis and subsequent treatment. Here, we present a case of an infant with this condition who initially presented with triventricular hydrocephalus with Chiari I malformation. This alone is not a common presentation of this disease, and we present this case to highlight autosomal recessive osteopetrosis as a potential diagnosis in infants presenting with hydrocephalus and discuss the other associated symptoms, management, and prognosis of this condition. Case report: The patient was a full-term infant with a routine newborn period. At 6 months, the infant had macrocephaly and frontal bossing with a bulging fontanelle. She was found to have hydrocephalus with moderate ventriculomegaly involving the third and lateral ventricles with an associated Chiari 1 malformation. The infant was asymptomatic at the time. The infant was promptly referred to neurosurgery and underwent an uncomplicated ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement. Post-operative X-rays showed increased density of the skull with other bone changes suggestive of autosomal recessive osteopetrosis. Subsequent lab work and imaging studies were consistent with this condition. The diagnosis was confirmed by genetic testing, and the patient has undergone treatment with hematopoietic stem cell transplant. Conclusion: Hydrocephalus is a common feature of this condition, typically seen in conjunction with other systemic symptoms and laboratory findings. Our patient had a limited initial presentation of triventricular hydrocephalus with Chiari I malformation and was otherwise clinically asymptomatic. There is limited literature of such a presentation, and we highlight this case to increase awareness, as timely diagnosis of these patients is critical for treatment and future outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3695-3703
Number of pages9
JournalChild's Nervous System
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Hypocalcemia
  • Macrocephaly
  • Osteopetrorickets
  • TCIRG1


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