Objective: We present the case histories of three premature infants with congenital posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus.
Study design: The timing of the lesion was monitored in utero in two of the three cases. Magnetic resonance imaging studies (prenatal in one case, within 24 hours of birth in all three cases) established the duration of the lesions and thereby added to the ultrasonographic findings.
Results: All three patients demonstrated a similar pattern of lesions, consisting of (1) unilateral germinal matrix hemorrhage with cystic resorption, (2) residual blood in the cerebrospinal fluid with a "granular" ependymal reaction, (3) asymmetric ventriculomegaly predominating on the side of the hemorrhage with mild atrophy and periventricular cysts, and (4) partial hypoplasia of the ipsilateral thalamus. On the basis of two cases in which information about the pregnancy was available and in which fetal oligohydramnios without ruptured membranes was detected, we assume that this pattern of lesions may have resulted from a hypoxic-ischemic episode followed by intraventricular hemorrhage.
Conclusions: Because these three infants with congenital hydrocephalus were born during a period of only 18 months in a perinatal center serving a region with 16,000 live births per year, we speculate that a posthemorrhagic cause for congenital hydrocephalus underestimated.