Germinal matrix hemorrhage (GMH) is a potentially devastating neurological disease of very low birth weight premature infants. This leads to post-hemorrhagic hydrocephalus, cerebral palsy, and mental retardation. Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) treatment is a broad neuroprotectant after brain injury. This study investigated the therapeutic effect of HBO after neonatal GMH. Neonatal rats underwent stereotaxic infusion of clostridial collagenase into the right germinal matrix (anterior caudate) brain region. Cognitive function was assessed at 3 weeks, and then sensorimotor, cerebral, cardiac, and splenic growths were measured 1 week thereafter. Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) treatment markedly improved upon the mental retardation and cerebral palsy outcome measurements in rats at the juvenile developmental stage. The administration of HBO early after neonatal GMH also normalized brain atrophy, splenomegaly, and cardiac hypertrophy 1 month after injury. This study supports the role of hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) treatment in the early period after neonatal GMH. HBO is an effective strategy to help protect the infant’s brain from the post-hemorrhagic consequences of brain atrophy, mental retardation, and cerebral palsy. Further studies are necessary to determine the mechanistic basis of these neuroprotective effects.

Lekic, Manaenko, Rolland, Ostrowski, Virbel, Tang, Zhang, , (2011). Beneficial effect of hyperbaric oxygenation after neonatal germinal matrix hemorrhage. Acta neurochirurgica. Supplement, 2011 ;111():253-7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21725764