Persistent hyperplastic primary vitreous

Persistent hyperplastic primary vitreous (PHPV), also known as the persistent fetal vasculature, refers to a rare congenital developmental malformation of the eye.

Clinically, this condition usually manifests as unilateral or bilateral leucocoria. Patients may also have poor vision, small eye (microphthalmia) and strabismus.

It arises due to a failure of normal regression of the embryonic hyaloid vascular system. In the normal situation the primary vitreous forms around 7th week of gestation life and starts involuting around 20th week and nearly always disappears at the time of birth. Persistent fetal vasculature in PHPV can lead to fibrosis, resulting in elongation of the ciliary processes, retinal detachment, and spontaneous cataracts.

Subtypes

PHPV can be divided into either anterior (ventral) or posterior (dorsal) types, with most patients with PHPV having a combination of these 3.

Associations

PHPV can occur on its own or association with various other conditions notably when bilateral, these include 9:

From an imaging standpoint, only the features of posterior PHPV are well known 3.

General

In posterior PHPV, the globe is small and can contain retinal detachments.

Ocular ultrasound

An echogenic band may be seen in the posterior segment of the globe extending from the posterior surface of the lens to the optic nerve head. On colour Doppler, arterial blood flow may be seen within this band.

CT

The CT appearance can be quite variable 9 and the described spectrum of CT findings includes 1:

  • soft-tissue replacement (infiltration) of the vitreous body
  • retrolental soft tissue along the Cloquet canal: fine linear structure
    extending from the head of the optic nerve to the posterior surface of the lens 3
  • absence of abnormal calcification within the orbit
  • microphthalmus
  • retrohyaloid layered blood
  • hypervascularity of the vitreous humor: after contrast administration, the vitreal abnormalities may enhance, which is believed to reflect a persistent hypervascular vitreous
  • retinal detachments can be hyperdense on CT
MRI

On MRI the retrolenticular tissue characteristic of this condition has a triangular shape, like that of a martini glass appearing as low T2 low signal against the normal high T2 signal of the globe 10.

  • clinically it is one of the more significant and frequent conditions that can mimic a retinoblastoma
  • at ultrasound the primary differential is of retinal detachment
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Article Information

rID: 19170
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Persistent hyperplastic primary vitreous (PHPV)
  • PHPV

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Cases and Figures

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    Case 1
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    Case 2: with microphthalmia
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     Case 3
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    Case 4
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    Case 5: bilateral PHPV
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    Case 6: left
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