Periventricular Leukomalacia (PVL)

What is PVL?

Periventricular leukomalacia (PVL) is a medical condition in which the white matter in the brain that is located near the lateral ventricles either dies off or endures coagulation. The lateral ventricles transport cerebral spinal fluid, so the loss of white matter can lead to medical issues such as epilepsy or cerebral palsy.

Periventricular leukomalacia is a condition usually acquired by newborns, often premature babies, but the condition can also develop in fetuses. PVL is usually caused by hypoxia (decreased oxygen flow) or ischemia (decreased blood flow). Hypoxia and ischemia can happen during pregnancy, often as the result of poor medical care or because of a birth injury during delivery.

Causes

Premature infants are the most susceptible to PVL. Their underdeveloped immune systems and bodies have trouble fighting infections and are more vulnerable to brain injury. Any hypoxic-ischemic issue a young child’s brain endures poses a danger to the blood brain barrier.

The blood brain barrier is composed of cells that control the distribution of nutrients to and from the baby’s brain. When this barrier is damaged, nutrients are not adequately circulated and the intensity of hypoxia increases. Such damage may also be the result of infection, such as an untreated maternal infection obtained during pregnancy, a fetal infection, or an infection a newborn develops outside the womb.

Issues such as hypotension (low blood pressure), pneumonia, difficult resuscitation after birth, or breathing distress can cause PVL in babies due to the possibility of resulting damage to the blood brain barrier.

Symptoms and Preventative Measures

Indentifying symptoms of periventricular leukomalacia are often hard to notice in newborns. Children affected by PVL may have difficulty performing motor skills, but these functions are difficult to observe when babies are very young. The symptoms typically do not arise until later in a child’s life.

It is extremely important that the proper measures are taken to prevent PVL. Failure by a doctor to properly identify issues that can lead to periventricular leukomalacia can have disastrous consequences for the infant.

For example, a doctor’s failure to notice or treat fetal distress during pregnancy can lead to hypoxia and ischemia before the child is born. A doctor failure to properly diagnose medical issues that increase the risk of premature birth can lead to PVL. Even overventilation from assisted breathing can cause medical problems that lead to PVL.

Contact Thurswell Law

If you have a child who is suffering from periventricular leukomalacia as the result of a doctor’s negligence, call Thurswell Law today. We have been handling birth injury cases since 1968 and will fight for you and your family to get the justice and compensation you rightly deserve. There is no fee unless we win your case. Call us at 248-354-2222 for your free consultation.

(248) 354-2222

1000 Town Center, Suite 500
Southfield, MI 48075

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