How Does Intraventricular Hemorrhage (Brain Bleeds) Relate to HIE?

A: Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) can often cause intraventricular hemorrhaging. When a baby sustains an oxygen deprivation-related injury (whether it is from trauma, misuse of assistive instruments, mismanaged umbilical cord issues or undiagnosed maternal health issues), it can result in brain bleeds.


What is Intraventricular Hemorrhage (IVH)?How Does Intraventricular Hemorrhage (Brain Bleeds) Relate to HIE?

The brain has four ventricles, which are spaces filled with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). When brain bleeds happen, small blood vessels around the ventricles break, sending blood into this area. Premature babies are at the highest risk for IVH due to the fragility of their brain structures, especially if they have other health problems (such as respiratory distress syndrome, infections, or unstable blood pressure).

Almost all cases occur within a week after birth. Babies born between 30-32 weeks’ gestation are screened routinely via ultrasound before they are 14 days old, and premature babies with additional concurrent health issues are usually screened as well.

What Health Conditions Are Tied to Intraventricular Hemorrhage?

There are numerous factors that can cause intraventricular hemorrhage, and many other health issues that brain bleeds in turn feed into. For example, trauma, preeclampsia, prolonged labor, and cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD) can all cause HIE, which can in turn cause intraventricular hemorrhaging. IVH (especially the more severe Grade III and IV types) can then cause seizures, developmental disabilities, and hydrocephalus (which in turn can cause cerebral cortex damage, which can impact cognition, speech and consciousness).

How can the Damage from Intraventricular Hemorrhage be Reduced?

When HIE causes ischemic damage and results in IVH, the standard of care is hypothermia therapy, where medical professionals cool the brain and slow down the body’s metabolic processes to allow the brain to better recover. Hypothermia therapy can reduce the extent of ischemic damage caused by HIE and resultant IVH.

Legal Help Interpreting the Cause of Intraventricular Hemorrhage

Understanding the cause of a child’s intraventricular hemorrhaging can be very difficult, as medical records are very complex. If you suspect that your child has learning disabilities, seizures, or cerebral palsy from intraventricular hemorrhage, reach out to us 24/7 via phone (888.812.6009), email, or live chat (to the left of your screen). The experienced birth injury attorneys at Reiter & Walsh can determine whether the intraventricular hemorrhaging was due to medical negligence on the part of medical staff. Our firm focuses solely on birth injuries, and has been helping the families of children impacted by medical malpractice since the firm’s inception in 1997.  


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Related Resources | Intraventricular Hemorrhages and HIE