What Is Intraventricular Hemorrhage (IVH)?

The brain produces fluid called cerebral spinal fluid (CSF). If the flow of the CSF is blocked by blood from trauma, excessive amounts of CSF can be trapped. With the increased fluid, the ventricular system enlarges causing pressure on adjacent brain structures. This may cause damage to the brain and even death. See Ventricular System in this section for a more detailed description of the ventricular system. Bleeding may occur in the ventricular system or bleeding from adjacent injured structures may rupture into the ventricular system.

The ventricular system is spread diffusely throughout the brain.

Notice how the fluid filled structure (the ventricular system drawn in purple) occupies space in all the lobes of the brain. Bleeding can reach anywhere in the ventricular system. Therefore, symptoms can be related to specific areas of the brain where the bleeding occurs, or there can be very diffuse effects should hydrocephalus develop. See (Understanding Hydrocephalus).

CT scan showing Intraventricular Hemorrhage

hemorrhage in the frontal horn going into the IIIrd Ventricle via the Foramen of Monro

In this image, the white is blood in the frontal horn of the ventricle blocking the foramen of Monroe. This is causing build up of excess fluid (early hydrocephalus). See Ventricular System to review the anatomy of the frontal horn and foramen of Monroe. A brain model below also interprets the CT for you.

Brain model of the CT scan

Brain Model Showing Blood In The Frontal Horn with early Hydrocephalus

The brain model represents the adjacent CAT Scan of the Brain. There is early hydrocephalus developing. The purple is the ventricular system. The red represents blood in the frontal horn of the right lateral ventricle tracking through the foramen of Monroe into the third ventricle filling the third ventricle with blood. This may eventually lead to lack of CSF (Cerebral Spinal Fluid) flow into and from the third ventricle causing obstructive hydrocephalus. For more examples of obstructive hydrocephalus due to hemorrhage see Hypertensive Hemorrhage and Obtructive Hydrocephalus.