Intraventricular Hemorrhage

CT scan of a patient with intraventricular hemorrhage, with associated hydrocephalus.

Intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) is bleeding that occurs inside the fluid filled spaces within the brain called ventricles. Very small, premature babies are at risk for IVH because of their very fragile blood vessels within the brain. IVH severity is sometimes classified by grades with grade I being the mildest, having likely no effect on how your baby will develop, to the most severe being grades III and IV, which may result in severe disabilities for a baby in the future. You will need to discuss the severity of your child’s IVH with your doctor. However, often the long term effects of IVH are not well known until your child’s development can be assessed by a medical professional over time.

common questions

What can be done for IVH?

Unfortunately, IVH is often unpredictable and unpreventable for some babies. Once it occurs only supportive care can be offered. Supportive care can include blood product transfusions and seizure treatment if needed.

 

Why does a baby develop hydrocephalus, and how can it be treated?

Sometimes increased fluid can collect inside the brain because of the prior bleed, and this is called hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus can create pressure that can cause further brain injury and may require a surgery to place a temporary device called a reservoir, which will allow your doctors to intermittently remove the excess fluid. Occasionally the need to remove the excess fluid and relieve this increased pressure inside the brain requires a more long-standing device called a ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt.

A neonatologist is available 24/7 for referral and case consultation

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