Is mechanical ventilation associated with intraventricular hemorrhage in preterm infants?

Brain Dev. 2012 Mar;34(3):201-5. doi: 10.1016/j.braindev.2011.04.006. Epub 2011 Jun 15.


Background: The impact of mechanical ventilation on the incidence of intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) in very low birth weight (VLBW) infants is unknown, simply because the vast majority of these infants have been routinely intubated and mechanically ventilated. There is a growing interest in the use of early nasal continuous positive airway pressure (ENCPAP) and avoiding mechanical ventilation.

Objectives: To examine the role of mechanical ventilation since delivery room in determining severe IVH in VLBW infants in two neonatal units that follow the same strategy of respiratory management using ENCPAP.

Methods: We collected data on delivery room intubation and mechanical ventilation during the first 3 days of life in VLBW infants. Logistic regression model was constructed to test the relationship between early mechanical ventilation and the diagnosis of severe IVH after controlling for significant confounding variables, such as BW, gender, duration of mechanical ventilation, and partial pressure of CO(2) (PCO(2)).

Results: Of the studied 340 VLBW, 35 infants had severe IVH; most of them received mechanical ventilation that started either in the delivery room (n=12) or during the first (n=10) and second (n=3) days of life. Severe IVH was independently associated with lower BW, mechanical ventilation in the delivery room, and the cumulative duration of mechanical ventilation during the first 3 days. The adjusted odds ratio for severe IVH in infants intubated in delivery room was (OR=2.7, CI: 1.1-6.6, P=0.03). Severe IVH was not associated with gender, prenatal steroids, early sepsis, or patent ductus arteriosus.

Conclusions: Mechanical ventilation plays a role in predicting severe IVH. Both the time at which ventilation was initiated and the duration of ventilation are important determinants of severe IVH. Risk for severe IVH in infants who were never intubated in delivery room or during the first 3 days of life is miniscule.

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / epidemiology*
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Respiration, Artificial / adverse effects*
  • Retrospective Studies