The detection of the onset of intraventricular haemorrhage (IVH) during life is a necessary preliminary to understanding the cause of this condition. In 10 infants of very low birthweight treated with serial transfusions of adult blood the proportions of transfused cells circulating after each transfusion were compared with the proportion of transfused cells found in the intraventricular clot at necropsy. This allowed the timing of IVH to be restricted retrospectively to the period between consecutive blood transfusions. In addition, the proportional changes of transfused cells produced by infusion of a known red cell mass allow changes in the babies' original red cell mass to be followed during life. A fall in this value occurred in 8 infants dying with IVH and was taken to indicate haemorrhage. Comparison of the two methods in 9 infants suggested that, while in some cases intraventricular bleeding occurs rapidly, in others it takes place over a period of time. The interval between birth and the onset of haemorrhage was directly proportional to the gestational age of the infant.
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