OBJECTIVE--To study the role of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in evaluating children with shunted hydrocephalus. METHODS--Sixty one asymptomatic children with shunted hydrocephalus or cystic cerebrospinal fluid collections were studied by cranial MRI. The information obtained from the images was classified into three categories: provided (1) a new diagnosis, (2) additional information, or (3) no essential new information. The findings were compared with those of the last follow up computed tomograms. RESULTS--MRI provided a new diagnosis in seven cases (11.5%), and additional information was obtained in 34 (55.7%) cases. In 20 cases (32.8%) no essential new information was obtained. MRI visualised white matter lesions and corpus callosum pathology more often than computed tomograms. CONCLUSIONS--MRI provided new important information in cases of children with shunted hydrocephalus to such an extent that it can be recommended as the primary imaging method for every child with this disorder.
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