Intraventricular urokinase for the treatment of posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus

Pediatr Neurol. 1997 Oct;17(3):213-7. doi: 10.1016/s0887-8994(97)00130-6.


This case series pilot study assessed the safety of intraventricular urokinase administration, alternating with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) drainage. A secondary objective was to comment on whether this therapy achieves fibrinolysis, and whether this fibrinolysis is sufficient to prevent progression of hydrocephalus to requirement for ventriculoperitoneal shunt. Six preterm infants with progressive posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus requiring treatment with a ventricular drain received an infusion of intraventricular urokinase alternating with CSF drainage for 3 days. Of the 6 treated patients, the median gestation at birth was 26.5 weeks and the median age at treatment was 30 days. One patient had an elevation in CSF erythrocyte count most likely due to successful clot lysis. One patient had an elevated CSF leukocyte count consistent with transient meningeal irritation. No other side effects were noted. Fibrinolysis was achieved in the CSF, as documented by markedly elevated D-dimer levels. Clot size diminished ultrasonographically. However, all 6 patients eventually required a ventriculoperitoneal shunt. We conclude that intermittent infusion of intraventricular urokinase alternating with periods of CSF drainage is probably a safe way to achieve a fibrinolytic state. However, when administered at the relatively late point in the neonatal course when a ventricular drain is required, this fibrinolytic state is not sufficient to decrease the requirement for ventriculoperitoneal shunt.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age of Onset
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / complications*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hydrocephalus / drug therapy*
  • Hydrocephalus / etiology
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Injections, Intraventricular
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Risk Factors
  • Thrombolytic Therapy / methods*
  • Urokinase-Type Plasminogen Activator / therapeutic use*
  • Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt


  • Urokinase-Type Plasminogen Activator