Continuous measurements of arterial pressures, heart rates, respiratory movements, and respiratory rates were made from birth in 44 infants at risk from intraventricular haemorrhage (IVH). 17 babies died with IVH, in 10 of whom the event was timed objectively. Events in these babies were compared with survivors of similar birthweights, gestational ages, severity of birth asphyxia, and severity of hyaline membrane disease (HMD). IVH followed severe HMD and was associated with cessation of the babies' own respiratory efforts while on a ventilator and also with characteristic cardiorespiratory events. The minimum arterial pressure before IVH was lower than in comparable babies who survived. It is suggested that fluctuations of systemic blood pressure from initial low levels may be important in the pathogenesis of IVH. It is possible that changes in cerebral blood flow are of even greater significance.
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