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Papers of the Week

2022 Mar

Obstet Med



Chiari I malformation: Case report of a postnatal diagnosis and literature review.



Mode of delivery and intrapartum analgesia for women with Chiari I malformation pose a challenge to the obstetrician and anaesthetist. Clinicians often advocate caesarean section delivery under general anaesthetic to prevent an uncontrolled rise in intracranial pressure or a fall in cerebrospinal fluid pressure during labour that may result in neurological complications, or rarely, brainstem herniation. This case report discusses a woman with hitherto undiagnosed Chiari I malformation who delivered by CS due to obstetric concerns, but remained asymptomatic throughout the preceding labour and in spite of multiple epidural insertion attempts. We discuss considerations for future pregnancies, and review the literature to challenge the view that women with Chiari I need planned caesarean or must avoid epidural/spinal analgesia; instead presenting evidence to support the safety and suitability of vaginal delivery and neuroaxial block in labouring parturients with this condition.