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Periventricular Leukomalacia

A type of brain injury, periventricular leukomalacia happens in the brain tissue that surrounds the fluid-filled cavities of the brain, called ventricles. This area of the brain is called white matter, in contrast to the grey matter that makes up the rest of the brain. So, the injury affects the white matter that provides connections between the brain and the muscles of the body.

What causes it?

PVL is thought to be caused by severe intraventricular hemorrhaging (bleeding in the brain). However, PVL can happen without any previous history of bleeding.

How is it diagnosed?

Often no signs of PVL will be seen in the nursery. Premature infants are at greater risk of having it, so doctors often order tests like a head ultrasound or an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to look for periventricular leukomalacia. As the infant gets a little older, he or she may show signs of developmental delays.

How is it treated?

There's no specific treatment, only close monitoring and support with therapists if a child does develop significant delays, usually after discharge from the hospital

How long will my baby be in the NICU?

Babies with this condition may be in the NICU for several weeks or months.