White matter disorders of prematurity: association with intraventricular hemorrhage and ventriculomegaly. The Developmental Epidemiology Network

J Pediatr. 1999 May;134(5):539-46. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3476(99)70237-4.


Objectives: Because intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) often precedes the development of sonographically defined white matter damage (WMD) in very preterm infants, we sought to identify the IVH characteristics that predict WMD.

Hypotheses: We evaluated variations on the null hypothesis that infants with IVH are no more likely than infants without IVH to have WMD. These variations dealt with characteristics of the IVH (presence or absence of ventriculomegaly) or characteristics of the WMD (size, localization, and laterality).

Methods: A total of 1605 infants weighing 500 to 1500 g at birth between January 1991 and December 1993 underwent standardized cranial ultrasound studies with 6 standard coronal and 5 sagittal views at postnatal days 1 to 3, 7 to 10, and at 3 to 8 weeks.

Results: A total of 129 (8%) infants had WMD, either an echodensity alone (n = 59), an echolucency alone (n = 18), or both (n = 52). In analyses that controlled for gestational age, IVH was associated with a fivefold to ninefold increased risk of WMD regardless of size, laterality, or extent of lesions (P </=.0005). Compared with infants with neither IVH nor ventriculomegaly, infants with both were at 18- to 29-fold greater risk of WMD (P </=.0005).

Conclusions: In this study IVH and ventriculomegaly were powerful predictors of WMD occurrence, whether small or large, unilateral or bilateral, localized or diffuse.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Brain Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cerebral Ventricles / diagnostic imaging*
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Leukomalacia, Periventricular / diagnostic imaging*
  • Ultrasonography