Child's Nervous System

, Volume 31, Issue 9, pp 1527–1532 | Cite as

The whole spectrum of cystic periventricular leukomalacia of the preterm infant: results from a large consecutive case series

  • Bernhard ReschEmail author
  • Elisabeth Resch
  • Ute Maurer-Fellbaum
  • Elisabeth Pichler-Stachl
  • Michael Riccabona
  • Nora Hofer
  • Berndt Urlesberger
Original Paper



The purpose of this study is to describe features of cystic periventricular leukomalacia (PVL) in a large consecutive cohort study including long-term neurodevelopmental follow-up.


We performed a retrospective single-centre cohort study including all preterm infants ≤35 weeks of gestational age with PVL diagnosed by ultrasound scans (US) from a tertiary care university hospital between 1988 and 2012.


The majority of 160 consecutively diagnosed cases had a gestational age between 28 and 32 weeks (60.6 %), and male sex was predominant (60.6 %). The most common associated clinical findings included respiratory distress syndrome, preterm premature rupture of the membranes, and chorioamnionitis (57.5, 49.4, and 39.4 %, respectively). Infants presented with apnoeas in 66.3 and neonatal seizures in 23.1 %. Any kind of respiratory support was present in 75.0 %. Associated low-grade intraventricular haemorrhage was evident in 33.1, high-grade haemorrhage in 9.4 %. Cysts were located on both hemispheres in 75 % and PVL grades 3 and 4 were predominant (75.6 %). Neurodevelopmental follow-up of 146 cases at a median age of 72 months revealed normal development in 11.0, mental retardation in 50.0, and cerebral palsy in 83.6 %. Visual impairment was diagnosed in 21.9 % and hearing impairment in one case. A quarter of cases (27.4 %) developed seizure disorders. Outcome data were significantly better in unilateral compared to bilateral PVL.


Long-term neurodevelopmental outcome of bilateral PVL always was adverse and different from unilateral PVL. The latter might be negatively influenced by associated intra- and periventricular haemorrhages.


Neurodevelopmental outcome Periventricular leukomalacia Preterm infant Risk factors Ultrasound scans 


Conflict of interest

The authors declare to have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bernhard Resch
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Elisabeth Resch
    • 1
  • Ute Maurer-Fellbaum
    • 2
    • 3
  • Elisabeth Pichler-Stachl
    • 2
    • 3
  • Michael Riccabona
    • 4
  • Nora Hofer
    • 1
  • Berndt Urlesberger
    • 2
  1. 1.Research Unit for Neonatal Infectious Diseases and EpidemiologyMedical University of GrazGrazAustria
  2. 2.Division of Neonatology, Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent MedicineMedical University of GrazGrazAustria
  3. 3.Outpatient Department of Developmental Follow-Up, Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent MedicineMedical University of GrazGrazAustria
  4. 4.Division of Paediatric Radiology, Department of RadiologyMedical University of GrazGrazAustria

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