AIM: To establish if there is an association between early cardiovascular adaptation and intraventricular haemorrhage (IVH). METHODS: One hundred and seventeen ventilated preterm infants (mean gestational age 27 weeks, mean birthweight 993 g) were studied echocardiographically within the first 36 hours. Measurements included right (RVO) and left ventricular outputs (LVO), ductus arteriosus (PDA) and atrial shunt diameter using colour Doppler and pulsed Doppler direction and velocity of both shunts. Clinical variables collected over the first 24 hours included use of antenatal steroids, respiratory severity, and mean blood pressure. Cerebral ultrasound scans were reported by a radiologist blinded to clinical and echocardiographic data. RESULTS: Antenatal steroids (two doses) had been given to 73% of the 86 infants with no IVH compared with 48% of the 21 infants with grades 1 and 2 IVH, and just 10% of 10 babies with grades 3 and 4 (P < 0.05). Both groups with IVH had significantly larger PDA diameters than the group with no IVH. Infants with grades 3 and 4 IVH had significantly lower RVO than the other infants. These differences were more pronounced when only infants with definite late IVH were analysed. Logistic regression analysis showed lack of antenatal steroids and larger PDA diameters were significantly associated with any grade of IVH and lack of antenatal steroids; lower RVO was significantly associated with grades 3 and 4 IVH. CONCLUSIONS: Larger early PDA shunts, lower RVO, and lack of antenatal steroids were significantly associated with IVH.
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