Twenty five of 106 preterm infants of 34 weeks' gestation or less developed intraventricular haemorrhage within the first 48 hours of life. A comparison of infants with and without intraventricular haemorrhage showed no significant differences in their haemostatic parameters at birth. At age 48 hours the group with intraventricular haemorrhage showed a prolonged activated partial thromboplastin time and reduced factor II, VII, and X activity. There was a significant correlation between the severity of intraventricular haemorrhage and the degree of haemostasis abnormality both in cord blood and in blood obtained at age 48 hours. Those infants sustaining grade IV intraventricular haemorrhage had a significantly prolonged activated partial thromboplastin time, reduced factor II, VII, and X activity; and a decreased fibrinogen concentration at birth. At age 48 hours these defects were accompanied by reduced platelet counts and an increased megathrombocyte index. Although intraventricular haemorrhage is multifactorial, we postulate that correction of haemostasis abnormalities at birth may prevent progression to more severe grades of haemorrhage.
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