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Periventricular Leukomalacia (PVL)


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Periventricular leukomalacia (PVL) is a brain injury that affects infants. The condition causes damage or death to the tissue around fluid-filled areas in the brain called ventricles. Damage to this tissue can affect muscular control and movement, as well as impact learning and thinking abilities.

It’s unclear what causes PVL, but some conditions may increase a baby’s risk of developing it, including:

  • Changes in blood flow to the ventricles during fetal development
  • Having an infection near the time of birth
  • Having intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH)
  • Premature birth

Common symptoms of PVL are:

  • Developmental delay that worsens over time
  • Movement difficulties and tight muscles, as in cerebral palsy 
  • Problems with vision and eye movements

University of Miami Health System neonatologists work closely with developmental pediatricians, pediatric neurologists, and other specialists to give your child the best quality of life possible. We use a team approach to address all areas of your child’s needs as they grow and develop.


Imaging Tests
Doctors use ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the head to diagnose PVL.


Ongoing Care
There is no treatment for this condition, but we can offer services to improve quality of life for babies who are born with this condition. Babies who are born prematurely are watched carefully in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), which helps to reduce the risk of developing PVL.

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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