Background: Optimal timing of intervention in neonatal progressive posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus is often a difficult decision. Unchecked hydrocephalus can lead to irreversible brain injury through impaired perfusion, while placement of a shunt is not without long-term morbidity. The purpose of this study was to assess the use of near-infrared spectroscopy to measure changes in regional cerebral oxygen saturation as an indicator of cerebral perfusion in infants with progressive posthemorrhagic ventricular dilatation.
Methods: Near-infrared spectroscopy was used to measure regional cerebral oxygen saturation for more than a one-hour period in infants within 24 hours of cranial ultrasound. Simultaneous pulse oximetry was recorded and oxygen extraction was calculated. Ventricular size was measured by ultrasound using the frontal-occipital horn ratio and compared with average oxygen saturation and oxygen extraction. Statistical analysis was done using the Spearman rank test and analysis of variance.
Results: Ventricular measurements were made in 20 very low birth weight premature infants with periventricular-intraventricular hemorrhage and 12 infants with normal ultrasound scans. Ventricular dilatation was associated with lower cerebral oxygen saturation and higher oxygen extraction (P < 0.001). Progressive ventricular dilatation was inversely related to changes in cerebral oxygen saturation (P < 0.001).
Conclusions: Progressive posthemorrhagic ventricular dilatation is associated with a significant decrease in cerebral oxygenation and increase in oxygen extraction suggesting a decrease in cerebral perfusion. Near-infrared spectroscopy could potentially provide additional clinical information to assist in determining optimal timing of surgical intervention in preterm infants with progressive ventricular enlargement.
Keywords: cerebral oxygenation; near-infrared spectroscopy; periventricular-intraventricular hemorrhage; posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus; preterm neonate.
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