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Pediatr Radiol. 2006 Jul;36(7):626-35. Epub 2006 May 3.

Brain ultrasonography in the premature infant.

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Service de Radiologie Pédiatrique, Hôpital Arnaud de Villeneuve, Avenue Gaston Giraud, 34295 Montpellier cedex 5, France.


Brain ultrasonography plays a central role in the detection and management of neonatal disease in the preterm infant. Although morphological study, using high-frequency transducers, remains the cornerstone of imaging, pulsed and colour Doppler scans provide additional information and improve the diagnostic and prognostic accuracy of ultrasonography. Particular features of normal brain US in the extremely preterm infant are reported. Cerebral haemorrhage and its different patterns (intraventricular haemorrhage and periventricular hemorrhagic infarction) are described. The value of Doppler techniques is emphasized, e.g. demonstration of coloured signal within the aqueduct of Sylvius, visualization of patency of the terminal veins, demonstration of Doppler spectrum fluctuations, recognition of low blood flow, and the detection of vasodilatation. The sonographic diagnosis of periventricular leucomalacia and its difficulties are documented. Some uncommon brain lesions of the premature infant are illustrated, e.g. gangliothalamic ischaemic damage, cortical necrosis, focal infarcts, etc. The importance of repeating the US examinations until near term is highlighted.

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