The clinical presentation of preterm cerebellar haemorrhage

Eur J Pediatr. 2010 Oct;169(10):1249-53. doi: 10.1007/s00431-010-1217-4. Epub 2010 May 18.


The objective of this study was to evaluate clinical symptoms and findings on cranial ultrasound (CUS) in preterm infants with cerebellar haemorrhage through retrospective analysis of all preterm infants with a postnatal CUS or MRI diagnosis of cerebellar haemorrhage admitted in a tertiary care centre between January 2002 and June 2009. Fifteen infants were identified; median gestational age was 25 2/7 weeks and median birth weight 730 g. We discerned six types of haemorrhage: subarachnoid (n = 3), folial (n = 1), lobar (n = 9, of which 4 bilateral), giant lobar (n = 1, including vermis) and contusional (n = 1). Especially in infants with lobar cerebellar haemorrhage, CUS showed preceding or concurrent lateral ventricle dilatation, mostly without intraventricular haemorrhage (IVH). Thirteen infants suffered from notable, otherwise unexplained motor agitation in the days preceding the diagnosis. In conclusion, motor agitation may be a presenting symptom of cerebellar haemorrhage in preterm infants. Unexplained ventriculomegaly can be a first sign of cerebellar haemorrhage and should instigate sonographic exploration of the cerebellum.

MeSH terms

  • Birth Weight
  • Cerebellar Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Intracranial Hemorrhages / diagnostic imaging*
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Ultrasonography