Chiari Malformation

Chiari malformation is characterized by cerebellar physical malformation, and may or may not include a protrusion of this part of the brain and brainstem into the foramen magnum (the large hole at the base of the skull that allows for the connection of the spinal cord and meninges to the brain). The cerebellum is responsible for the functions of coordination of motor movements, balance, basic learning and memory functions. The functions of the brain stem are the basics for life- to see that respiration, heartbeat, and blood pressure maintenance are carried out. With Chiari malformation, not only can cerebellum and brainstem function be adversely affected, cerebral spinal fluid flow can also be impeded. Causes of Chiari malformation are also the factors that divide this condition into two categories. Primary CM, also known as congenital CM, can be caused by genetic mutations or malnutrition while the fetus is developing that leads to central nervous system structural problems. Secondary CM is caused by injury, infection, or exposure to toxic substances. Symptoms of Chiari malformation can include:

  • Balance problems
  • Depression
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dizziness
  • Fine motor skills lacking
  • Hearing loss
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle weakness
  • Neck pain
  • Numbness in limbs
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Vomiting
  • Vision problems

Symptoms that babies may display of Chiari malformation are:

  • Arm weakness
  • Breathing problems
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Developmental delays
  • Excessive drooling
  • Failure to thrive
  • Gagging or vomiting
  • Irritability at feeding
  • Stiff neck
  • Weak cry

There are some conditions that occur synonymously with Chiari malformation. These conditions are:

  • Hydrocephalus (characterized by excess cerebral-spinal fluid and pressure
  • Spina bifida (spinal malfornations)
  • Syringomyelia (another spinal affliction/cyst formation)
  • Tethered Cord Syndrome (the spinal cord and spine fuse)
  • Scoliosis (Spine curves in an improper direction)

If you or a loved one suffer a worsening of condition due to a misdiagnosis of Chiari malformation, you may be eligible for damages. Call the experts at the Sweeney Law Firm and let us review the facts to see if you have a medical malpractice case. If we take your case, we work on a contingency fee basis- meaning we don’t get paid unless there is a settlement or recovery of funds made on your behalf.