Testing & Diagnosis for Periventricular Leukomalacia in Children


At Boston Children’s Hospital, we know that an early and accurate diagnosis of periventricular leukomalacia (PVL) is the first step to getting your baby the care and support he needs.

How is PVL diagnosed?

Newborns may not show symptoms of PVL in the first few days of life. However, since premature infants have an increased risk of developing the condition, doctors may perform the following diagnostic tests:

  • Cranial ultrasound: a painless test that uses sound waves to view the baby's brain through the soft spot on top of the head (fontanel).
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): this imaging procedure uses a magnetic field and radio to produce a detailed picture of the brain without exposing the infant to x-rays. PVL is a term that describes the way the affected infant’s brain looks on an MRI