Periventricular Lekomalacia

What is Periventricular Leukomalacia (PVL)?

It is a brain disorder that affects infants, where the white matter of the brain softens, doesn't function properly or dies. The most common cause of PVL is oxygen deprivation due to premature birth or complications during labor and delivery. This condition happens mostly in twin births, babies having low weight, premature deliveries, and mothers who engage in cocaine abuse.

If your child suffered an injury due to periventricular leukomalacia call DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers to see whether you have a case. Our office has extensive experience in handling all type of birth injury cases. Furthermore, consultations are always free.

Symptoms of PVL

The signs of PVL include:

  • Delayed cognitive development
  • Delayed motor development
  • Impaired coordination
  • Impaired hearing
  • Impaired vision
  • Seizures
  • Tight, contracted and/or spastic leg muscles

Risk Factors for PVL

  • Premature birth
  • Hypoxic events (oxygen deprivation) during or immediately after birth
  • Hypocarbia (low CO 2 in the blood) or over-ventilation
  • Moderate and severe intra-ventricular hemorrhage (IVH)
  • Lengthy resuscitation following birth
  • Infections in the mother, like chorioamnionitis or villitis
  • Infections in the fetus
  • Infections of the newborn, like herpes encephalitis (HSV)
  • Respiratory distress
  • Pneumonia
  • Low blood pressure

Prevention and Treatment Of PVL

The most important step to decrease the risk of periventricular leukomalacia is to delay or prevent premature delivery. Moreover, taking measures to maintain sufficient blood supply to the fetus's brain is helpful to prevent PVL. It is important to avoid low blood pressure, narrowed blood vessels in the brain, hypocarbia, and hypoxemia.

Periventricular leukomalacia can lead to developmental delays, blindness, spastic muscles, seizures, and cerebral palsy. Sadly, there is no treatment that can reverse the brain damage caused by PVL. Support therapies like early intervention, physical therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy should be timely implemented to help the child live with the injury in a potentially better way. Therapy is also given to control seizures, epilepsy and spasticity in the muscles of the affected child. The child needs to be closely monitored by pediatric neurologist as well regular pediatrician.

PVL and Medical Malpractice

  • Medical negligence may occur in the following ways:
  • Failure to detect fetal distress
  • Failure to identify and treat disorders that can cause premature birth
  • Failure to prevent problems that can lead to hypoxic / ischemic injury, such as
    • cord compression
    • nuchal cord
    • chorioamnionitis
    • early water breaking
    • delayed emergency C-section / delayed delivery
    • placental abruption
    • uterine rupture
    • improper use of pitocin and cytotec
    • prolonged and arrested labor
    • Improper use of forceps or vacuum extractors
  • Failure to obtain adequate informed consent, which includes advising the mother of the risks and alternatives of delivery methods and medication usage
  • Failure to obtain adequate informed consent regarding the risks and alternatives of the use of delivery instruments, such as forceps and vacuum extractors
  • Failure follow standards of care during delivery
  • Over-ventilation of the newborn, causing hypocarbia

Contact Our Birth Injury Lawyers

If you have questions about whether medical malpractice caused permanent damage to your child, call us at 315-479-9000 or contact us online. Our law firm has extensive experience handling all types of birth injury cases. Consultations are always free and you will never be responsible for any legal fees unless we are able to recover compensation for your child.