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enlarged ventricles in the brain of a 20 week old fetus
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enlarged ventricles in the brain of a 20 week old fetus

My wife is 20 wks pregnant.  At her last ultrasound (about 18 weeks) the doctors noticed that the ventricles in the baby's brain were enlarged.  We are still waiting for the test results of her amnio and additional blood-work (to check for viruses).  So far, she has tested negative for toxovirus and parvovirus (igm), but positive for parvovirus (igg).  Her AFP results from the amnio were normal.  We will have another ultrasound in a week (she will be 22 weeks pregnant).  What dangers and/or complications do we and the baby face?  Is it possible that there has been no brain damage to this point and that all structures have been developing normally?  Our doctor says that if the head continues to grow and as the baby matures, the enlarged ventricles will probably be a "non-event" - is this possible?
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Dear Mr. Fenton:

Sorry to hear about your "to be newborn".  There are a couple of things to think about, first is how large are the ventricles?  If they are only slightly enlarged, then I think there is likely nothing serious going on.  Second, if your ultrasound is of the highest quality then this might be an overcall, it depends alot on the person who is reading the ultrasound.  Third, watching whether there is some sort of obstruction or not is important (very doubtful).  Fourth, I would agree that if the head continues to grow (therefore the brain is growing) then there is less to worry about.  But, since I haven't seen the ultrasound it is difficult to tell you the outcome, even if I did, it would still be difficult.  I think this should tell you that infants brains are very plastic (meaning that they can overcome alot of insults) and develop normally inspite of insults.

I would not worry about the IgG titer.  This just means that your wife has been exposed in the past (as most of us have been).  This does not mean that she is actively infected and should worry about prenatal affects.  The IgM is more critical in determining a recent infection.

I hope this helps alittle.

Sincerely,

CCF Neuro MD
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