Pediatric Radiology

, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp 212–218

Cerebral ultrasound findings in infants exposed to crack cocaine during gestation

Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00247-012-2528-6

Cite this article as:
Lucca, J. & Baldisserotto, M. Pediatr Radiol (2013) 43: 212. doi:10.1007/s00247-012-2528-6



Prenatal exposure to cocaine has been associated with a wide spectrum of structural abnormalities in infant brains. The growing use of crack, a smokable and extremely addictive form of cocaine, could exacerbate the situation.


The purpose of this study was to determine the frequency, type and severity of cerebral lesions detected by transfontanellar US in newborns exposed to crack during gestation.

Materials and methods

This was a retrospective study, involving a review of the medical records of children who were born to crack-using women and who were subjected to transfontanellar US imaging during their first days of life.


Transfontanellar US revealed abnormalities in 45/129 newborns examined (34.9%). The changes detected were subependymal cysts in 24 infants (18.6%), lenticulostriate vasculopathy in 18 infants (14%), subependymal hemorrhage in 9 infants (7%), and choroid plexus cysts in 9 infants (7%).


All of the abnormalities found by US examination were discrete and likely without clinical significance for the babies. However, prospective studies with a long period of tracking are needed to determine whether there are later consequences on the neurodevelopment of children with prenatal exposure to crack.


Crack cocaine Cerebral US Prenatal exposure 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of RadiologyHospital da Crianҫa ConceiҫãoPorto AlegreBrazil
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyHospital Sao Lucas da Pontificia Universidade Católica do Rio Grando do SulPorto AlegreBrazil

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