During the first week after birth, some
premature infants develop bleeding in the brain
(intraventricular hemorrhage), for which there is no known treatment.
severity is most often minimal (grades I and II) and causes little or no
noticeable brain damage.
Grade III bleeding raises the risk for
hydrocephalus (a buildup of excess cerebrospinal fluid
within the brain), brain damage, or both.
Grade IV is used to describe
extensive bleeding that has damaged brain tissue and shows up on
The more immature the
brain, the more fragile the brain's blood vessels and the more sensitive they
are to changes in blood pressure. So extremely premature infants are at the
greatest risk for this problem.
It is possible that the main title of the report Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.
Regardless of an
gestational age at birth, the risk of bleeding in the brain drops significantly after the first 72 hours of life and is
negligible after 7 days of age. Very premature infants typically have an
ultrasound of the head (cranial ultrasound) in the first few
days after birth to check for bleeding in the brain. Those who show signs
of bleeding are periodically checked thereafter.
measures that can reduce the risk of bleeding in the brain
Corticosteroid treatment, given to the
mother before the birth. This treatment is typically given to help fetal lungs
develop before a premature birth and is thought to make blood vessels less
likely to bleed.
Thilo EH, Rosenberg AA (2011). The preterm infant and the late preterm infant sections of The newborn infant. In WW Hay Jr et al., eds., Current Diagnosis and Treatment: Pediatrics, 20th ed., pp. 30-42. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Primary Medical Reviewer
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
April 14, 2011
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
April 14, 2011
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