Elevated cerebral pressure passivity is associated with prematurity-related intracranial hemorrhage

Heather O'Leary, Matthew C. Gregas, Catherine Limperopoulos, Irina Zaretskaya, Haim Bassan, Janet S. Soul, Donald N. Di Salvo, Adré J. Du Plessis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

143 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: Cerebral pressure passivity is common in sick premature infants and may predispose to germinal matrix/intraventricular hemorrhage (GM/IVH), a lesion with potentially serious consequences. We studied the association between the magnitude of cerebral pressure passivity and GM/IVH. PATIENTS AND METHODS: We enrolled infants <32 weeks' gestational age with indwelling mean arterial pressure (MAP) monitoring and excluded infants with known congenital syndromes or antenatal brain injury. We recorded continuous MAP and cerebral near-infrared spectroscopy hemoglobin difference (HbD) signals at 2 Hz for up to 12 hours/day and up to 5 days. Coherence and transfer function analysis between MAP and HbD signals was performed in 3 frequency bands (0.05-0.25, 0.25-0.5, and 0.5-1.0 Hz). Using MAP-HbD gain and clinical variables (including chorioamnionitis, Apgar scores, gestational age, birth weight, neonatal sepsis, and Score for Neonatal Acute Physiology II), we built a logistic regression model that best predicts cranial ultrasound abnormalities. RESULTS: In 88 infants (median gestational age: 26 weeks [range 23-30 weeks]), early cranial ultrasound showed GM/IVH in 31 (37%) and parenchymal echodensities in 10 (12%) infants; late cranial ultrasound showed parenchymal abnormalities in 19 (30%) infants. Low-frequency MAP-HbD gain (highest quartile mean) was significantly associated with early GM/ IVH but not other ultrasound findings. The most parsimonious model associated with early GM/IVH included only gestational age and MAP-HbD gain. CONCLUSIONS: This novel cerebrovascular monitoring technique allows quantification of cerebral pressure passivity as MAP-HbD gain in premature infants. High MAP-HbD gain is significantly associated with GM/IVH. Precise temporal and causal relationship between MAP-HbD gain and GM/IVH awaits further study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)302-309
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2009
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and StrokeK24NS057568
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke


    • Cerebral autoregulation
    • Cerebral pressure passivity
    • Intraventricular hemorrhage
    • Prematurity
    • Transfer function analysis


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