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Periventricular Leukomalacia (PVL)

PVL is the most common ischemic brain injury in premature infants.

What is Brachial Plexus injury newborn

Periventricular leukomalacia is a condition in which the brain sustains damage of the white matter around the ventricles. PVL occurs when the baby is deprived of oxygen around the time of birth, also known as birth asphyxia. Additional risk factors include brain breeds and infections passed to the infant from the mother during labor and delivery. 

Periventricular leukomalacia is a type of birth injury that can result in permanent disability for the infant.

PVL can occur in both premature and full-term infants. However, premature infants are more prone to PVL due to their fragility and underdevelopment. The results of PVL are often lifelong; it can lead to motor disorders such as cerebral palsy, seizure disorders, learning and developmental disabilities, and vision and hearing impairments.

What are the risk factors for PVL?

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How A Birth Injury Law Firm Can Help

The birth of a child brings tremendous joy to new parents and families. This can be lost when a tragedy like birth injury or birth trauma occurs. A child can be seriously injured, permanently disabled, require life-long care, or even result in fatalities from a neonatal injury. The physical, emotional, and financial hardships endured by the parents, siblings, grandparents and other loved ones of a child injured at birth can be overwhelming and devastating.

Causes of PVL

PVL is usually caused by lack of oxygenated blood flow to the brain at the time of delivery, or an infection transmitted from mother to infant. You should know that oxygen deprivation and infection transmission are often preventable. If a doctor’s action or inaction caused your child’s PVL, it may be medical malpractice. Families in these situations can be eligible for compensation for the birth injury.

How is PVL Diagnosed?

To diagnose PVL, the doctor will do a physical exam and take a medical history. Additionally, they might order a cranial ultrasound to allow them to view the baby’s brain through the soft spots between the skull bones. One of the reasons for this ultrasound is to look for signs of cysts in the brain tissue, which may be a sign of PVL.  The doctor may also order a MIR to view a detailed image of the brain’s internal structures, which may show abnormalities if the baby has PVL.

grief caused by a brachial plexus injury newborn
brachial plexus injury newborn

Treatment for PVL

Unfortunately, there is no cure for PVL. However, therapeutic hypothermia has demonstrated effectiveness in treating infants with brain injuries due a lack of oxygen, such as PVL. This treatment works by cooling the brain to decrease the amount of cellular death. If the treatment is initiated quickly after birth, it may be able to prevent or reduce the severity of the brain injury caused by PVL.  Researchers are looking to see if betamethasone or magnesium sulfate might also be protective against PVL.

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Medical Malpractice and PVL

PVL is sometimes the result of medical malpractice. If the doctor made a mistake the caused your child’s injury, you may be eligible to file a birth injury lawsuit. Some examples of negligent practice that cause PVL include

  • Failure to monitor the infant and respond to fetal distress
  • Failure to diagnose and treat disorders that result in a premature birth
  • Incorrect use of forceps of vacuum extractors
  • Failure to follow standards of care during labor and delivery
  • Resuscitation errors
  • Over-ventilation of the infant causing hypocarbia

Failure to identify and treat an underlying condition is negligent. When a doctor’s negligence results in PVL or hypo-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), it constitutes malpractice.

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The attorneys at our law firm have extensive experience in birth injury claims, and we care for each of our clients like they are our own family. We know all too well the cost of ongoing medical and supportive care services for a child with a brain injury. That’s why we fight to get you fair compensation, so that you can focus on taking care of your child.


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