My Brief Encounter with Dandy-Walker Syndrome

On my call a week ago, I found myself doing my best to read up as quickly as possible on Dandy-Walker Syndrome/Malformation as we were preparing to insert a central venous catheter into a patient with this condition.

The purpose of a central venous catheter can be categorized based on the reason. There are therapeutic needs such as the administration of fluids or blood and its products, multiple blood draws and the administration of drugs such as antibiotics. One of the more common diagnostic reasons for a central venous catheter is to monitor the central venous pressure amongst others.

To be honest, I underestimated the conditions that exist within the population here in The Bahamas and what I would be exposed to upon my return home for my clinical years. I've seen the clinical presentations of Scleroderma, SLE and numerous patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis and now my first encounter with Dandy-Walker. I NEVER would have imagined seeing any of these here because I ignorantly thought that I would only be exposed to self-induced ailments such as Hypertension and its complications, Diabetes and heart failure.

So briefly, Dandy-Walker Syndrome/Malformation affects the development of the cerebellum-the part of the brain that is responsible for coordination of movement and is also involved with cognition and behavior. The development of the 4th ventricle in the brain is also affected; this is the fluid-filled cavity between the brainstem and the cerebellum and the posterior fossa.

Persons with this condition tend to have problems with movement, coordination, intellect and mood as well as other neurological problems.

The cause of this condition is unknown and it is a rare occurrence. Feel free to read up about it either at the site listed in the picture or perform a Google search.

I've been amazed at the conditions I've been exposed to so far. Such exposure has lead to a greater curiosity of what exists in the population of The Bahamas and what I will see as my future in medicine evolves granted the newfound diversity.


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