Prevention of intraventricular hemorrhage in preterm infants

Early Hum Dev. 1995 Aug 18;42(3):209-33. doi: 10.1016/0378-3782(95)01651-i.


Prematurely born infants with intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) suffer significant morbidity and mortality, particularly those infants with high grade hemorrhage. The more premature infants have a higher incidence, experiencing more severe IVH. Early onset IVH is also likely to be severe and to progress to a higher grade. The etiology of intraventricular hemorrhages is clearly multifactorial, with differing sets of risk factors for early onset and later occurring hemorrhage. Prevention requires multilayered strategies, both prenatal and postnatal. These strategies are discussed in detail, highlighting unresolved controversies. Certain recommendations for prevention can be made. These include efforts to prevent preterm delivery, transfer of high risk mothers to tertiary care centers and antenatal maternal steroid use. Postnatally, the importance of optimal resuscitation and neonatal care practices is stressed, particularly those which minimize cerebral blood flow fluctuation. Postnatal indomethacin use should be considered in most infants. Further investigation of other strategies is necessary, including multicenter randomized trials to further evaluate antenatal pharmacologic agents, as well as the relative efficacy of different modes of delivery. The different risk factors for early onset versus later onset IVH must be more clearly delineated. Most importantly, any strategy must include sustained neurodevelopmental followup.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / prevention & control*
  • Delivery, Obstetric
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Indomethacin / therapeutic use
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Factors
  • Tocolytic Agents / therapeutic use


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Tocolytic Agents
  • Indomethacin