The aim of this study was to determine the cognitive profile of children with a temporal arachnoid cyst (TAC) and its impact on daily life.
The authors prospectively analyzed the cognitive and psychological profiles of 100 consecutive children relative to age and cyst characteristics (side, cyst size, and cyst shape: convex or nonconvex) and their outcome 4 years later.
Mean IQs were normal but with high heterogeneity on Full Scale IQ (FSIQ; range 59–150); 29% of children had at least one Wechsler index below the norm, in particular, Processing Speed and Working Memory Indexes. Impairments were observed in language for 31% of children, as well as in verbal memory (28%), visual memory (23%), executive function (21%), and visual attention (24%). Half of the children (50%) needed rehabilitation for learning difficulties, and 26% had academic difficulties. The parental questionnaire BRIEF (Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function) revealed significant executive dysfunctions in daily life for 22% of the children. One-third of the patients (34%) required psychotherapy for anxiety or social disorders, with higher rates in patients with a right-sided cyst and older children. Cyst size had very little neuropsychological impact. Convex cysts were significantly associated with worse performance than nonconvex cysts on all Wechsler indexes and FSIQ, and in language, verbal memory, attention, and visuospatial skills. Children with a convex cyst had significantly more executive and behavior difficulties in daily life and more psychotherapy than other children. The effect of cyst shape was independent of Galassi type and cyst side. Children with a ruptured cyst or an incidentally discovered cyst usually had a good cognitive level. Four years later, children without initial disorders remained stable, whereas those with difficulties who did not undergo surgery needed more rehabilitation and school adaptations.
This large cohort study revealed a varied profile of children with a TAC: at initial assessment, 50% had neuropsychological difficulties and needed rehabilitation and/or psychotherapy for learning or behavior difficulties, and 50% had no difficulties, which may explain the debate about this pathology. Patients with neuropsychological difficulties had a heterogeneous profile with normal intelligence but selective cognitive and/or behavior disorders that may have a long-term impact on their quality of life, particularly those with a right-sided cyst. A neuropsychological evaluation is not always necessary for a cyst discovered incidentally, but early evaluation is essential in patients with academic, learning, or psychological disorders. When assessment shows selective disorders presumably linked to cyst location, surgery may be considered, particularly for convex cysts, as this study revealed more effects in association with cyst shape than with cyst size and significantly poorer performance with a convex cyst.