ABSTRACT: Indomethacin is the most frequently used pharmacological agent for closure of a patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) in premature infants. However, reports of complications, particularly, necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and isolated gastrointestinal perforation have generated concerns about the use of this medication.
A retrospective study to compare the incidence of NEC, NEC-related gastrointestinal complications and isolated gastrointestinal perforation among premature infants treated for a PDA with either, indomethacin alone (I), surgical ligation alone (L), or indomethacin followed by surgical ligation (I-L).
The medical records of 224 infants that underwent treatment, either pharmacological or surgical, for a PDA, confirmed by echocardiography, over a 4-year period (1995 to 1998) were analyzed. Treatment history and gastrointestinal complications were reviewed.
Of the 224 infants, 108 (48.2%) were treated with I, 50 (22.3%) by L, 66 (29.5%) with I-L. The clinical characteristics of the three treatment groups were similar and no differences in the incidence of NEC were observed between groups. NEC occurred in 14 (13%) of the I group, seven (14%) of the L group, and eight (12%) of the I-L group. The rate of NEC related gastrointestinal complications and isolated gastrointestinal perforation were also similar among groups.
In this large retrospective study, indomethacin treatment for a significant PDA in premature infants was not associated with a greater risk for NEC or NEC-related gastrointestinal complications than surgical ligation.
Journal of Perinatology 07/2003; 23(4):286-90. · 1.80 Impact Factor