Posthaemorrhagic ventricular dilatation (PHVD) is thought to be due to clots from intraventricular haemorrhage obstructing cerebrospinal fluid pathways involved in reabsorption. Over 60% of infants with progressive PHVD have gone on to require surgical shunt placement. Previous treatments all have major problems. The object of this pilot study was to achieve enough fibrinolysis to restore pathways of cerebrospinal fluid reabsorption and so avoid shunt surgery. Nine preterm infants with progressive PHVD were treated with intraventricular infusion of streptokinase for 12-72 hours. All the infants survived and surgical shunting was required in only one case. A 200% increase in fibrinolytic activity was demonstrated in both ventricular and spinal fluid during streptokinase treatment. There were no cases of infection. Minor rebleeding occurred in one case and was not a serious problem. This represents the first direct therapeutic approach to the pathology of PHVD.
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