Developmental sequence of periventricular leukomalacia. Correlation of ultrasound, clinical, and nuclear magnetic resonance functions.
The evolution of severe periventricular leukomalacia was followed by ultrasonography in three newborn infants, and the subsequent myelination of the brain was assessed by nuclear magnetic resonance imaging. Four stages of periventricular leukomalacia could be identified by ultrasonography; (1) initial congestion, followed by (2) relative normalisation, (3) development of cysts, and (4) resolution of cysts but development of ventricular enlargement. All infants exhibited abnormal neurological signs from 36 weeks conceptual age and had unequivocal signs of cerebral palsy by 6 to 9 months of age. One infant became cortically blind but the other two seemed to have normal vision. Nuclear magnetic resonance imaging showed some abnormality of the ventricular system and delayed myelination in all three infants. The delay was most noticeable in the opticothalamic region, which was also the site of the most extensive lesions observed on ultrasonography. Progress in myelination was observed in the infants where a repeat scan was performed.