Loading icon
Press enter or spacebar to select a desired language.
Health Information Center

Intraventricular Hemorrhage of Infancy

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:


Intraventricular Hemorrhage of Infancy

(IVH; Subependymal Germinal Matrix Hemorrhage; Early-onset Germinal Matrix Hemorrhage; EGMH; Periventricular-Intraventricular Hemorrhage; PIVH)


Intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) is bleeding into the spaces of a baby’s brain. It may cause harm to brain tissue and lead to long-term development problems.

Ventricles of the Brain.

Ventricles of the Brainhttp://services.epnet.com/getimage.aspx?imageiid=79657965AP00049_ventricles of brain.jpgVentricles of the BrainVentricles of the BrainjpgVentricles of the BrainNULL\\hgfiler1\intellect\images\AP00049_ventricles of brain.jpgNULL29NULL2010-05-07382347Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


IVH is caused by the rupture of immature or fragile blood vessels in the brain. It is not known why this happens, but changes in blood pressure may play a role.

Risk Factors

IVH is most common in premature babies and those who have a low birth weight.


IVH often happens in the first 48 hours after birth. Most babies do not have symptoms. Those who do may have:

  • Seizures
  • Low muscle tone
  • Muscle spasms
  • Problems breathing, such as pauses in breathing
  • Pedaling leg motions
  • Changes is eye movement or alignment
  • Pale or blue skin color


The diagnosis is often made during a routine ultrasound in premature or low birth weight infants. Blood tests may be done to support the diagnosis.


The goal of treatment is to stop bleeding and lower the chances of problems that may happen from it.

Procedures or surgery may needed to ease pressure in the brain:

  • Ventriculoperitoneal shunt—a tube is inserted that runs under the skin and lets fluid drain from the ventricle (brain) to the belly
  • Lumbar puncture, fontanelle tap, or surgery—to drain fluid from the baby's brain


Women at risk of having a premature baby may be given medicine to lower the baby's risk of IVH.





  • Intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) in premature babies. About Kids Health—The Hospital for Sick Children website. Available at: http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/Article?contentid=1774&language=English.
  • Intraventricular hemorrhage of infancy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/intraventricular-hemorrhage-of-infancy-21.
  • Intraventricular hemorrhage. Stanford Children's Health website. Available at: http://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=intraventricular-hemorrhage-90-P02608.
  • Whitelaw, A. and Aquilina, K. Management of posthaemorrhagic ventricular dilatation. Archives of Disease in Childhood, Fetal Neonatal Edition, 2012; 97 (3): F229-F233.


  • Kari Kuenn, MD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.