Germinal matrix-intraventricular haemorrhage and subsequent post-haemorrhagic ventricular dilatation (PHVD) are frequently encountered complications in preterm neonates. As progressive dilatation of the lateral ventricles may be associated with elevated intracranial pressure, ultrasound measurements of ventricular size play a major role in the evaluation of neonates at risk of ventricular dilatation as well as in assessing the effect of intervention for PHVD. A systematic search was carried out in Medline and Embase to identify neonatal and foetal ultrasound studies on lateral ventricular size. This review presents an overview of the available data concerning neonatal reference values for lateral ventricular size, the influence of gender, ventricular asymmetry and the effect of the mode of delivery on the phenomenon of ventricular reopening following birth.
Conclusion: Serial cranial ultrasound measurements of the lateral ventricles play a key role in the early recognition and therapeutic evaluation of post-haemorrhagic ventricular dilation and can be of prognostic value in neonates with ventricular dilatation.
© 2010 The Author(s)/Journal Compilation © 2010 Foundation Acta Paediatrica.