Intraventricular hemorrhage in the premature infant--current concepts. Part I

Ann Neurol. 1989 Jan;25(1):3-11. doi: 10.1002/ana.410250103.


Although the incidence of periventricular-intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) has decreased in recent years, the increasing survival rates for the smallest premature infants indicate that the lesion will continue to be a major problem in neonatal intensive care facilities. The neuropathology is characterized by an elemental lesion, bleeding into the subependymal germinal matrix, with subsequent rupture into the lateral ventricle. Important neuropathological consequences are germinal matrix destruction, posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus, and periventricular hemorrhagic infarction. The last of these appears to be a venous infarction and is a critical determinant of neurological outcome. Neuropathological accompaniments, not caused by the IVH, include periventricular leukomalacia and pontine neuronal necrosis. The pathogenesis of IVHs is related to intravascular, vascular, and extravascular factors. Intravascular factors involve primarily control of blood flow and pressure in the microcirculation of the germinal matrix. Particular pathogenetic importance can be attached to fluctuations in cerebral blood flow, abrupt increases in flow, decreases in flow with injury to matrix vessels, increases in cerebral venous pressure, and, in selected infants, disturbances of platelet function and coagulation. Vascular factors relate to the microcirculation of the matrix, the site of the initial bleeding. A maturation-dependent alteration in vascular integrity and a vulnerability of matrix vessels to ischemic injury appear important. Extravascular factors include those relevant to mesenchymal and glial support for matrix vessels and to local fibrinolytic activity in the germinal matrix. The latter may be a manifestation of the proteolytic activity now recognized to be of general importance in developmental remodeling of the mammalian central nervous system.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Brain / blood supply
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Capillaries / pathology
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / pathology*
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / physiopathology
  • Cerebral Ventricles / pathology
  • Cerebral Ventricles / physiopathology
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Venous Pressure