Thursday, February 17, 2011

Chiari Malformation

Chiari Malformation can be a co-morbid disorder with POTS.  One does not cause the other, but they tend to accompany one another in patients.
Here are some quick facts about Chiari Malformations:

  • Chiari Malformations (CM) are structural differences in the cerebellum.  When part of the cerebellum is located below the foramen magnum it is known as a CM.
  • There are four types of CM, but the type that occurs most often with POTS is Type 1.  Type 1 is an extension of the cerebellar tonsils into the foramen magnum without involving the brainstem.  Some people never show symptoms, but is the most common type of CM.  It is the only type that can be acquired.
  • The primary symptoms of type 1 are: head and neck pain due to increased cerebrospinal fluid that builds up around the brain stem and puts pressure on the tissues and nerves; dizziness; and balance problems.
  • It is diagnosed with the use of an X-ray, a CT scan, or and MRI.
  • Treatment is normally not necessary since it doesn't interfere with most people's daily lives


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