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Intraventricular Hemorrhage

Intraventricular Hemorrhage (IVH)

What is it?

Intraventricular hemorrhage is bleeding in the brain. Severe cases may cause a drop in blood pressure or seizures. Many times the hemorrhage is found by ultrasound. Other symptoms could include:

  • A weak suck
  • High-pitched cry
  • Apnea
  • Bradycardia
  • Anemia

What causes it?

IVH usually affects premature babies because the vessels in their developing brains are especially fragile and can bleed easily.

How is it diagnosed?

It's diagnosed with an ultrasound of the head so that doctors can look for collections of blood in the brain.

How is it treated?

There's no specific treatment for intraventricular hemorrhage, so NICUs try to prevent it by controlling babies' blood pressure. Once diagnosed, the problem is closely monitored with frequent ultrasounds. If serious, IVH leads to severe hydrocephalus, which can be treated with a surgically placed shunt.

How long will my baby be in the NICU?

This depends on the severity of the bleeding. Infants with serious cases may spend several weeks to months in the NICU and be at risk for conditions like cerebral palsy or seizures later in life.