Objective: In a prospective study at Uludag University Hospital, 120 premature infants with birthweights of 1500 g or less were screened for intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) using cranial ultrasound. With the purpose of studying the incidence of IVH, the associated risk factors for these neonates were considered.
Methods: We studied all the very low birth weight infants admitted in our neonatal unit. We examined the following variables as risk factors for IVH: sex, birth weight, gestational age, Apgar score, mechanichal ventilation, hypercapnia, use of antenatal steroids, tocolytic drugs, vaginal versus cesarean section delivery, and inborn versus outborn status, vasopressor infusion (any vasoactive drug such as dopamine, dobutamine, or epinephrine) not associated with resuscitation, and surfactant administration.
Results: The incidence of IVH was 15% (18/120), 50% grade I (9/18), 17% grade II (3/18), 11% grade III (2/18), and 22% grade IV (4/18). IVH occurred mainly in the first week of life (78%; 14/18). The significant risk factors for IVH were found to be prematurity, outborn status, low 5 minute Apgar score, vaginal delivery, hypercapnia, mechanical ventilation, hypotension, and use of vasopressors on the day of admission. Significant protective factors against IVH included antenatal steroid therapy, cesarean section, magnesium sulfate tocolysis, increasing gestational age, and increasing birth weight.
Conclusion: Our results concur with the notion that a tertiary center is the optimal location for delivery of the high risk neonate. Transportation of infants in utero to a perinatal center specializing in high risk-deliveries results in a decreased incidence of IVH when compared to infants transported postnatally. Aggressive resuscitation, with avoidance of hypercarbia, and rapid restoration of hypovolemia could potentially reduce the incidence of PVH/IVH.