Ventricular lavage is one of the few surgical processes shown to reduce the risk of brain damage in a premature child where there has been a cerebral haemorrhage. It is a procedure where a damaging by-product of a ruptured blood vessel (fibrin) is washed out of the brain using purified water or saline. This cleansing helps protect the natural drainage system in the brain from blockage and reduces the risk of fluid building up, which might lead to hydrocephalus.

This technique is increasingly available in general treatment of the new born. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) will publish guidelines in the Autumn.