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An overview of periventricular leukomalacia

Premature infants are at high risk for incurring a birth injury known as periventricular leukomalacia. The injury causes areas around the ventricles, or fluid-filled cavities, of the brain to die. The resulting "holes" in the brain can cause issues with the nervous system and hinder the infant's development. Expectant mothers in Texas may want to know more.

Premature infants run the higher risk for PVL because the areas around the ventricles are especially fragile before 32 weeks of gestation. Two factors can increase that risk: infection around the time of delivery, and intraventricular hemorrhage. Blood flow changes around the ventricles are thought to be a prominent cause of PVL.

While PVL can be detected via ultrasound or MRI, no treatments exist. Any premature infant will be put in the newborn intensive care unit, though, and it is while doctors monitor the infant's heart, lung, intestine and kidney function that they might be able to reduce the chances of developing PVL altogether.

Infants who are diagnosed with PVL will need to be monitored by a developmental pediatrician or pediatric neurologist. Infants may suffer mobility limitations and require physical therapy. Cerebral palsy is one condition that may result from PVL. This will be characterized by a tightness in the legs combined with increased muscle tone.

As for whether periventricular leukomalacia can develop as a result of a doctor's negligence, this might be a matter to discuss with an attorney who knows about birth injuries. Two things must be proven: the doctor's failure to live up to an objective standard of care, and the fact that this failure led to the injury. An attorney may hire investigators to obtain evidence of malpractice, and the attorney might handle all settlement negotiations. If successful, parents may be covered for medical expenses and more.

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