Neonatal Intraventricular Hemorrhage Presenting as Pyrexia of Newborn: A Case Report
Background Temperature instability is a relatively common presenting symptom in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) with sepsis being one of the major etiologies that need to be ruled out. However, an important differential diagnosis is a central fever. Many cases of Intracranial Hemorrhage/Intraventricular Hemorrhage (ICH/IVH) present with temperature dysregulation with no other clear associated symptoms, and cranial imaging for early identification and treatment of ICH/IVH is crucial.
Case report A 3-day-old male born at 33 weeks and four days of gestation who was admitted to the neonatal critical care unit due to prematurity and respiratory distress was noted to be febrile during the fourth hospital day. The septic screen was negative, and the patient continued to spike fever while on broad-spectrum antimicrobial treatment. Due to an unexplained drop in his hematocrit, cranial ultrasound was done, and grade III IVH was identified. The patient continued to improve clinically, but the exact etiology of his IVH was not identified. His fever resolved without interventions, and his IVH continued to decrease in size. Serial cranial imaging was done in NICU, and no neurosurgical interventions were warranted. He was referred to neurosurgery and neurology and followed in the infant’s high-risk clinic.
Discussion Sepsis is the top of differentials when managing a newborn infant in NICU. However, we must always keep our minds open to other differentials, including central hyperthermia. Extreme prematurity is a major risk factor for ICH/IVH in the neonatal period; nonetheless, other risk factors are identified, and many cases of ICH/IVH had no identified causative factor or even risk factors.
Conclusion Identifying clinical presentation and risk factors associated with ICH and IVH in NICU patients is crucial for early diagnosis and offers appropriate management. A high index of suspicion is required to promptly diagnose ICH/IVH resulting in central fever and avoid unnecessary workup and treatment.
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