Purpose: Despite a decreasing incidence, intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) remains a point of major concern in neonatology due to its association to adverse neurodevelopmental outcome (NDO). Aim of this study was to compare outcome of preterm infants with different grades of IVH born below 32 weeks of gestational age (GA) with outcome of controls without IVH and to especially evaluate the influence of low grade IVH on NDO.
Methods: Four hundred seventy-one preterm infants with a GA below 32 weeks were admitted to our neonatal intensive care unit between 1994 and 2005 and included into analysis.
Results: IVH patients showed significantly lower mean psychomotor and mental developmental indices and a significantly higher percentage of cerebral palsy and visual impairment. Results of IVH patients born below 28 weeks of GA were significantly worse than results of IVH patients born at or above 28 weeks of GA. In all parameters, an increase of abnormal results with increasing grade of IVH could be observed; even patients with low-grade IVH (grades I and II) showed higher percentages of impairment compared to controls without any IVH.
Conclusion: Even low-grade IVH has an significant impact on neurodevelopmental outcome of preterm patients and gestational age influences the impact of intraventricular hemorrhage on neurodevelopmental outcome.