Intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) in premature babies

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Read about intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH), or bleeding in the brain. It varies in severity and can result in brain damage for a premature baby.

Key points

  • Intraventricular hemorrhage is bleeding into the ventricles of the brain, caused by weakness of the blood vessels next to the ventricles which can rupture and bleed.
  • About 50% of extremely premature babies will sustain an IVH whereas only about 15% of older premature babies will have an IVH.
  • IVH may affect the flow of cerebral spinal fluid in the ventricles and it may cause damage to brain tissue adjacent to the ventricles, which cannot be reversed.
  • Complications and long-term effects will depend on the severity of the IVH, though many babies who have a mild IVH go on to develop normally with only minimal learning disabilities.
Last updated: October 31st 2009