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 Published: 29/11/2011

Cranial ultrasound scans

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Head ultrasound scans are an integral part of the care of sick newborn infants.  They are the imaging mode of first choice because of

  • ease of access,
  • cost,
  • good imaging of central structures of the brain (ventricles and germinal matrix) and of the circulation

Ultrasound, however, is less good at imaging the peripheries of the brain.  For these areas, CT or MRI may provide better images after an initial ultrasound scan.

The main use of ultrasound scanning in the NICU is to image the preterm brain for evidence of Germinal Matrix - Intraventricular Haemorrhage (GM-IVH).  This may occurs in up to 20% of infants with gestations <32 weeks at birth.