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Intraventricular Hemorrhage (IVH)


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Intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) is bleeding into the fluid-filled areas of the brain, called ventricles. Most frequently, IVH occurs in babies who are born prematurely — or at least 10 weeks before their due date. It's more common in premature babies with:

  • Respiratory distress syndrome (RDS)
  • Unstable blood pressure
  • Other conditions that are present at birth (congenital)

There are four grades (types) of IVH, based on the amount of bleeding. They are:

  • Grades 1 and 2: With a smaller amount of bleeding, these types don’t typically cause long-term complications.

  • Grades 3 and 4: These types have more bleeding and typically cause a more severe, long-term impact. In grade 3 IVH, the blood presses on brain tissue. In grade 4 IVH, the bleeding directly involves brain tissue. In these more severe types of IVH, blood clots can form and, in turn, block the flow of cerebrospinal fluid. This can sometimes lead to hydrocephalus.

Some babies who have IVH don’t have any related symptoms. When they have symptoms, they may include:

  • Breathing pauses (apnea)
  • Excessive sleepiness and lethargy
  • Fluctuations in blood pressure and heart rate
  • Low muscle tone and problems with reflexes
  • Poor suck when feeding
  • Seizures and other abnormal movements of the body

University of Miami Health System neonatologists offer expert care for newborns with IVH. We use the latest approaches to give your baby the very best care possible.


Doctors use a head ultrasound to look for bleeding in the brain and diagnose IVH.


Shunt Insertion
In this surgical procedure, your child’s surgeon places a drainage system (shunt) to drain the extra fluid from the brain, relieving pressure. The drainage system’s tubing allows the fluid to flow to another part of the body where it can drain safely and be reabsorbed.

Blood Transfusion
A blood transfusion can help improve your baby’s blood pressure and blood count.

Why Choose UHealth?

History of excellence in critical care for babies. Our neonatologists see patients at Holtz Children’s Hospital, which has one of the largest, longest established Level III neonatal intensive care units in the United States. Our neonatal program has been ranked among the best NICUs in the United States by U.S. News & World Report for the past several years. When you trust us to care for your baby, you can be confident that you are putting your child’s care in highly qualified, compassionate hands. 

Recognized by our peers and patients for our excellence. Many of our pediatric doctors are recognized as America’s Top Doctors® by Castle Connolly — doctors who are nominated by their peers as being the very best in their communities. We have more Top Doctors than any other health system in South Florida. We’re affiliated with Holtz Children’s Hospital, one of the largest children’s hospitals in the southeastern United States. The hospital is ranked among the nation’s Best Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report in diabetes and endocrinology, gastroenterology and GI surgery, and nephrology.

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