Health Resources

Intraventricular Haemorrhage (Children)


Medical professionals in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) diagnose and manage intraventricular haemorrhage (IVH). Paediatric radiologists may conduct further imaging tests.

Signs & Symptoms

Mild bleeds often present no visible symptoms and are diagnosed through routine ultrasound screenings. Severe bleeds might lead to noticeable changes in breathing patterns, blood pressure and behaviour.

What causes it

IVH is caused by the fragility of blood vessels in the premature brain, leading to bleeding into the ventricular spaces and potentially into the brain tissue. The risk increases with the level of prematurity and instability in the infant’s condition during the first few days.

About the condition

IVH commonly affects very low birth weight (VLBW) infants. Bleeding severity is categorised into four grades, with Grade 3 and Grade 4 being severe. Grade 4 IVH poses the highest risk for impacting the infant’s future mental and physical development.

Diagnosis and Treatment Options

Diagnosis involves ultrasound scans, conducting by placing the probe on the anterior fontanelle (soft part of the skull). All infants born below 1,500g undergo multiple routine ultrasound during their stay in the NICU.

Treatment for IVH primarily focuses on managing symptoms. In severe cases, where ventricular bleeding obstructs cerebrospinal fluid flow , causing hydrocephalus, intervention may include drainage.

Infants with severe IVH grades receive follow-up care post-discharge, including early intervention and support from physiotherapists and occupational therapists.
Support Group

The Early Starter Club supports parents of premature babies in the NICU.

Clinical outcome

From 2015–2019, the incidence of severe IVH in the VLBW cohort was 3.7%, compared to a rate of 8.9% in the Vermont Oxford Network in 2015.

Information is correct as of December 2019.
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