Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed doi:10.1136/archdischild-2012-302323
  • Original article

Can neurophysiological assessment improve timing of intervention in posthaemorrhagic ventricular dilatation?

  1. Monika Olischar1
  1. 1Division of Neonatology, Intensive Care and Neuropediatrics, Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
  2. 2Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, 1st Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary
  3. 3Division of Epidemiology, Center for Public Health, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
  1. Correspondence to Dr Katrin Klebermass-Schrehof, Division of Neonatology, Intensive Care and Neuropediatrics, Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Medical University of Vienna, Waehringer Guertel 18-20, A-1090 Vienna, Austria; katrin.klebermass-schrehof{at}
  • Received 15 May 2012
  • Revised 13 November 2012
  • Accepted 14 November 2012
  • Published Online First 20 December 2012


Objective Intraventricular haemorrhage is still the most common cause of brain lesion in preterm infants and development of a posthaemorrhagic ventricular dilatation (PHVD) can lead to additional neurological sequelae. Flash visual evoked potentials (fVEP) and amplitude-integrated electroencephalography (aEEG) are non-invasive neurophysiological monitoring tools. The aim of the study was to evaluate fVEPs and aEEGs in preterm infants with progressive PHVD prior to and after neurosurgical intervention for cerebrospinal fluid removal and to correlate the findings with severity of ventricular dilatation.

Design fVEPs and aEEGs were performed weekly in infants with developing PHVD. As soon as the ventricular index reached the 97th percentile recordings were performed twice a week.

Methods 17 patients admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit of the Medical University of Vienna who developed progressive PHVD were evaluated using fVEP and aEEG until and after reduction of intracranial pressure by placement of an external ventricular drainage.

Results In all 17 cases (100%) wave latencies of fVEP increased above normal range and aEEG showed increased suppression in 13 patients (76%) with increasing ventricular dilatation. Both methods showed normalisation of patterns mostly within a week of successful therapeutic intervention (mean 8.5 days). Both changes in fVEP latencies and aEEG background patterns were detected before clinical signs of elevated intracranial pressure occurred. In only 10 patients (58.8%) ventricular width exceeded the 97th percentile+4 mm.

Conclusions fVEP and aEEG are useful additional tools for the evaluation of preterm infants with progressive PHVD.

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