Periventricular Leukomalacia (PVL) is a diagnosis that is not very familiar to many people. This is a brain injury that occurs in infancy. This injury is most common in preterm babies but can still happen in full term babies as well. 75% of preterm babies with Periventricular Leukomalacia will have some kind of disability. Many people do not know what causes this, how this is diagnosed, what the treatment is and the outcome of the infants affected by this. This paper will give insight to what causes Periventricular Leukomalacia and what happens to an infant who has this brain injury. Many people wonder that Periventricular Leukomalacia is and if it can be prevented. Good prenatal care can help prevent this. If a mother is at risk for premature bath they can be given corticosteroid medications to help mature the babies lung functions. When this injury occurs there is death of small areas of the brain matter around the ventricles. When the death of the brain matter happens this causes holes in the white matter of the brain. Unlike many parts of the human body that can heal itself the brain cannot. This damage to the brain is irreversible. There are several factors that can cause this type of brain injury. Changes in the blood flow to the part of the brain where the ventricles are located can be a major factor in causing this brain injury. This area of the brain is very delicate prior to 32 weeks gestation. Periventricular Leukomalacia can also be caused by infection if there is an infection present at time of delivery. Babies who are born sick and preterm are at higher risk of this that a baby who is not sick and born preterm. Another factor that contributes to this brain injury is intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH). IVH is when there is bleeding in the brain. Some of the symptoms of Periventricular Leukomalacia may not show up for several months or even years. There are a very small amount of tests that can identify Periventricular Leukomalacia. An ultrasound...
References: Volpe JJ. Neurology of the Newborn. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2008; chap 8.
www.ninds.nih.gov, National Institutes of Health, updated may 6, 2010.
www.childrenshospital.org, Children 's Hospital Boston, updated 2010.
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