Periventricular Leukomalacia (PVL)

This brain injury is seen in some babies who are born prematurely. The more premature the baby the higher the risk of this injury occurring. The medical term, Periventricular Leukomalacia, refers to an injury to the white matter of the brain around the ventricles. The premature baby does not have a developed system for the supply of blood to all parts of the brain. In addition, the premature baby does not have a developed autoregulation system which, in essence, is the body’s mechanism to regulate blood pressure throughout one’s body to maintain adequate blood flow, and therefore oxygenation, to the brain. This makes a premature baby vulnerable to changes in blood pressure which compromises the blood flow to parts of the brain. This can result in irreversible neurological injury.