Posthaemorrhagic ventricular dilation: new mechanisms and new treatment

A Whitelaw, SS Cherian, M Thoresen, IK Pople

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Post haemorrhagic ventricular dilatation is associated with a high rate of disability, multiple impairments and adverse effects of shunt surgery for hydrocephalus. Post haemorrhagic ventricular dilatation results initially from multiple small blood clots throughout the cerebrospinal fluid channels impeding circulation and re-absorption. Transforming growth factor β is released into the cerebrospinal fluid and there is evidence that this cytokine stimulates the laying down of extracellular matrix proteins which produce permanent obstruction to the cerebrospinal fluid pathways. Prolonged raised pressure, pro-inflammatory cytokines and free radical damage from iron may contribute to periventricular white matter damage and subsequent disability. Interventions such as early lumbar punctures, diuretic drugs to reduce cerebrospinal fluid production and intraventricular fibrinolytic therapy have been tested and, not only fail to prevent shunt dependence, death or disability, but have significant adverse effects. Surgical interventions such as subcutaneous reservoir, external drain, choroid plexus coagulation and third ventriculostomy have not been subject to controlled trial. Ventriculoperitoneal shunt is not feasible in the early phase after intraventricular haemorrhage but, despite the problems with blockages and infections, remains the only option for infants with excessive head expansion over periods of weeks. We have piloted drainage, irrigation and fibrinolytic therapy as a way of removing blood early enough to stop the progressive deposition of matrix proteins, permanent hydrocephalus and shunt dependence.
Translated title of the contributionPosthaemorrhagic ventricular dilation: new mechanisms and new treatment
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11 - 14
Number of pages4
JournalActa Paediatrica
Volume93 (s444)
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2004

Bibliographical note

Publisher: WileyBlackwell

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