Periventricular leukomalacia (PVL) is a type of brain injury that affects infants. Small areas of brain tissue die that are around fluid-filled areas called ventricles. The damage creates "holes" in the brain.
Periventricular leukomalacia involves softening and damage of the white matter, the inner part of the brain that transmits information from one part of the brain to another, as well as between the nerve cells and the spinal cord.
The name periventricular leukomalacia can be broken down in this way:
Periventricular Means near or around the ventricles. These are the spaces in the brain that contain cerebrospinal fluid.
Leuko Means white.
Malacia Means softening.
Periventricular leukomalacia is primarily found in premature infants. The most prematurely born babies are the ones at greatest risk.
The incidence of this disorder is between 4% and 26% in premature infants in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). As many as 75% of premature infants have evidence of periventricular leukomalacia on postmortem examination. It occurs most often in premature babies younger than 32 weeks gestation at birth.
Periventricular leukomalacia is extremely important because it is one of the major causes of cerebral palsy (link to page Cerebral Palsy and Disability) and other long-term disabilities. 60 to 100% of infants with this condition later develop signs of Cerebral Palsy.
The primary cause of periventricular leukomalacia is premature birth. One of the major reasons for this is thought to be changes in blood flow to the area around the ventricles of your babys brain. This area is delicate and has a propensity for injury, especially before 32 weeks of gestation. Infection around the time your baby is born may also be a contributing factor in causing periventricular leukomalacia.
At the beginning, there may be no visible effects of this condition. When there are signs or symptoms, here is what to look for with your baby:
Delayed motor movement
Problems with coordination
Impaired hearing and vision
Contracted, tight, spastic leg muscles
Delayed intellectual development
Periventricular leukomalacia may be the cause of your childs disability. It may be why you need financial assistance.
You may have applied for that financial assistance for your child with disability by applying for Social Security disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income from the Social Security Administration because of the disability caused by periventricular leukomalacia. Was your child with disability denied?
You may be considering appealing the denial by the Social Security Administration. If you do, here is something to always remember.
Your child with disability will need to be represented by a disability attorney in the appeals procedure. This is true because people who are represented by a disability lawyer like the one you will find here are approved more often than those people who do not have an attorney.