Neuropathological and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) studies showed a high frequency of posterior fossa abnormalities in preterms. To assess whether cerebellar haemorrhages (CH) diagnosed with ultrasound and/or MRI affect pons development in ELBW infants. The anteroposterior diameter of the pons was measured manually on the midline sagittal T1 MR image in 75 ELBW babies consecutively scanned at term postmenstrual age. Subjects with CH were identified and compared to babies with no posterior fossa bleeding. Nine ELBW infants with CH (CH-Group: median gestational age -GA- 26 wks, range 23-27; birth weight -BW- 680 g, 425-980) were compared with 66 babies with normal cerebellum (Control-Group: GA 28 wks, 23-33; BW 815 g, 430-1000). The two groups were comparable for BW (p=0.088) while GA was significantly shorter in CH babies (p=0.005). The pontine diameter was significantly lower in CH-Group compared to Control-Group (12.8 +/- 2.2 vs 14.8 +/- 1.2 mm; p<0.001).
Conclusions: Cerebellar haemorrhages seem to affect the development of the pons in ELBW with the youngest GA.