Intraventricular Hemorrhage (IVH) in Infants

Infant Intraventricular Hemorrhage (IVH) 

An intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) is the most serious type of intracranial hemorrhage. Because it involves the brain’s ventricular system, where the cerebral spinal fluid is produced, it can cause brain injuries and many other serious and life-threatening conditions.

Causes of IVH

Intraventricular hemorrhage is a medical event that is especially prevalent in premature infants because their blood vessels are fragile and not fully developed. Up to 20 percent of premature babies will experience a brain bleed, with the numbers dropping considerably after 30 weeks gestation. Infants with low birth weight (under 3 lbs.) are at a higher risk for IVH.

Cerebral hypoxia (reduced supply of oxygen to the brain) can also cause IVH. Cells begin to degrade when the brain is deprived of oxygen. When the cells that form the blood vessel walls start to break down, those walls become weak and can rupture very easily.

With or without the added risk factor of underdeveloped or weak blood vessels, IVH may be caused by any type of trauma. Oftentimes, this trauma is induced by the use of forceps or vacuum extractors. These instruments, designed to assist in removing the baby from the birth canal, put a great deal of pressure on the baby’s head and, if not used properly and when appropriate, can cause brain injury.

Labor and delivery is always somewhat traumatic for the baby. If the labor is prolonged in an attempt to avoid a C-section, the methods used to speed up delivery, such as forceps or a vacuum, may result in IVH.

Symptoms and Prognosis

When a baby experiences an intraventricular hemorrhage, or any other brain bleed, damage is the result of a decreased amount of oxygenated blood reaching various areas of the brain. The resulting injury may be extensive if the hemorrhage is not recognized quickly and managed properly. Even with accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment, IVH may still cause long-term damage to your child’s brain.

Injury can be catastrophic with a brain bleed. The complications of an intraventricular hemorrhage usually include progression to a condition called hydrocephalus, which is defined as too much spinal fluid accumulating in the brain ventricles. Hydrocephalus leads to damaged blood vessels that supply the white matter of the brain, causing some of it to be destroyed. Loss of blood vessels may also result in improper development of the cerebral cortex, a vital portion of the brain.

White matter is responsible for transmitting messages to other areas of the body, the spinal column, and within the brain, using electrical impulses. When it is damaged, many normal bodily functions may become impaired, including breathing and heart rate. The cerebral cortex plays a key role in things like memory, reasoning, speech and consciousness. Hydrocephalus caused by IVH may cause a child to experience seizures, cerebral palsy, and other intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Trusting Your Physician

When you are expecting a child, you have so many things on your mind, so many plans—the one thing you should not have to have to worry about is your medical care. You should be able to rely on the medical professionals who are well-paid for their expertise and knowledge. Your physician and staff are responsible for monitoring every aspect of your pregnancy to ensure the health and safety of both you and your unborn child.

Your doctor should monitor your baby closely throughout the gestational period and also be prepared for any complication that might occur during labor and delivery. Additionally, you should be able to trust that you will be informed of all options and the possible consequences of each decision along the way, especially if your baby is exhibiting stress during labor. 

When That Trust is Broken

When parents are informed that their precious newborn has sustained a brain injury due to an intraventricular hemorrhage or other brain bleed, they are likely to have more questions than answers. One of the most important questions is, “Why did this happed?” If you feel that you have been misinformed or that your medical team has broken the bond of trust you placed in them, you should contact the expert legal team at Thurswell Law.

Our compassionate and knowledgeable attorneys have extensive experience in Michigan birth injury cases and know what it takes to help you collect the monetary compensation you are entitled to. Children with moderate to severe brain injury often require a lifetime of costly care and you should not have to sacrifice your family’s financial future because a medical professional (doctor/nurse) was careless or negligent.

Call 248-354-5544 now for a free consultation. We never charge a fee unless you receive money.

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Southfield, MI 48075

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