The clinicopathological associations of 33 singleton infants who died with intraventricular haemorrhage (IVH) without hyaline membrane disease (HMD) ('IVH only') were compared with those of 39 infants who died with IVH+HMD over the same gestation range in order to determine what factors other than those related to HMD may contribute to the pathogenesis of IVH. The incidence of 'IVH only' was inversely related to gestational age in the Hammersmith birth population, whereas the incidence of IVH+HMD rose to a peak at 28-29 weeks' gestation. Infants with 'IVH only' lived longer on average than those with IVH+HMD despite a lower birthweight and shorter gestation. Infants who died in the first 12 hours from 'IVH only' had suffered severe birth asphyxia but in those who died later the main symptom was recurrent apnoea. Fewer infants with asphyxia but in those who died later the main symptom was.recurrent apnoea. Fewer infants with 'IVH only' were given alkali therapy or were connected to the ventilator as compared to those with IVH+HMD, but there were no differences in alkali therapy in those who lived for 12 hours or more. In the 'IVH only' group there was a high incidence of haemorrhage from other sites and of bacterial infections. It is suggested that, in the absence of HMD, extreme immaturity is the main factor determining the occurrence of IVH. Birth asphyxia, apnoeic attacks, haemorrhage, and infections may play subsidiary roles, possibly through development of metabolic acidosis.
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