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Professor Andrew Whitelaw

Professor Andrew Whitelaw

Professor Andrew Whitelaw
MB B Chir, MD., M.R.C.P., F.R.C.P.C.H.

Emeritus Professor

Area of research

Mechanisms and treatment of neonatal brain injury

Level D,
St Michael's Hospital, Southwell Street BS2 8EG
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 968 1236


Intraventricular haemorrhage (IVH) and hydrocephalus in premature babies. Ventricular lavage reduces brain injury and disability in posthaemorrhagic hydrocephalus by to remove toxic substances released by old blood (eg free iron and pro-inflammatory cytokines.

Hypoxic-ischaemic injury in babies born at full term. Total body hypothermia for neonatal hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy improved the odds of surviving without neurological impairment at 18 months. Since 1998 the 2 Bristol neonatal intensive care units have been pioneers in therapeutic cooling for babies.

Activities / Findings

Ventricular lavage has alread shown clinically significant benefit in a randomised clinical trial when the children were tested at the age of two years. The DRIFT trial was the first trial ever to show that any treatment improved development in this group of severely damaged babies.

Therapeutic hypothermia is the most significant advance in neonatal care in the last decade and is now established or being established all over the developed world. We have also shown mild effects on IQ at school age and 18 years in infants with poor condition at birth but no neurological signs.


  • Element Lead for the Care of the Newborn for Reproductive Health and Care of the Newborn undergraduate teaching program for medicine
  • Neuroimaging for Neonatologists one day course twice a year
  • Neurophysiology for Neonatologists one day course twice a year
  • Therapeutic Hypothermia for Hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy in the newborn, one day course three times a year


  • Newborn infant
  • intraventricular haemorrhage
  • hydrocephalus
  • hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy
  • cerebral palsy
  • cognitive impairment


  • Intraventricular haemorrhage
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy
  • Periventricular leukomalacia
  • Cerebral palsy

Processes and functions

  • Free radical injury to immature brain. Inflammatory injury to immature brain. Intracranial pressure


  • Ventricular catheterisation and irrigation
  • single channel EEG
  • quantitative cranial ultrasound
  • Doppler cerebral artery blood flow velocity


I have 30 years of clinical experience with sick newborn infants and have worked on the mechanisms and treatment of brain injury in babies for over 20 years. I have extensive experience of clinical trials of treatments to protect the newborn brain from injury, particulary premature babies with brain haemorrhage. I am a co-ordinator of the Cochrane Library Neonatal Review Group.

  • newborn brain injury
  • newborn intensive care
  • experimental brain treatment
  • brain haemorrhage
  • hydrocephalus
  • Memberships


    Bristol Medical School (THS)

    Other sites

    Research groupings

    Recent publications

    View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

    Networks & contacts

    • At Bristol: Professor Seth Love (Neuropathology)
    • Professor Ian Silver (Anatomy)
    • National and international:
    • Gressens (Paris)
    • Hagberg (Gothenburg)
    • Wyatt (UCL)
    • Edwards (ICL)
    • Marlow (Nottingham)

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