Medical Q&As

Periventricular leukomalacia - cause?

My 2-year-old son has recently been diagnosed with periventricular leukomalacia. He was a full term baby delivered by elective caesarean section. However during the last trimester of her pregnancy my wife developed an infection and her membranes partially ruptured. As a result my son was placed in special care, given antibiotics intravenously and discharged with a clean bill of health a couple of days later. My query is whether or not the periventricular leukomalacia would be caused by the combination of the infection and the partial rupture of her membranes?

Periventricular leukomalacia means softening of the brain tissue adjoining the ventricles or fluid spaces within the brain. The leukomalacia or softening occurs because the tissue is damaged. This injury to the developing brain occurs because of reduced blood flow through that part of the brain when the foetus is in the womb, at the time of delivery or during the first few days of life after delivery. It is impossible to pinpoint exactly when this type of injury might have occurred. The diagnosis is usually made with the aid of a cranial ultrasound examination, which is a painless procedure that involves transmitting sound waves through the babyís head. The technology involved is similar to ultrasound scans used in studying other parts of the body. It can take several weeks after birth before the signs are detectable by scan. It is essential that all babies noted to have periventricular leukomalacia be followed up periodically to ensure that they develop normally. In summary it is not possible for me to say if your wifeís illness or rupture of membranes were the cause of your sonís condition.