Surgical ligation of patent ductus arteriosus in very low birth weight infants: is it safe?

The American surgeon

PubMedID: 9764713

Perez CA, Bustorff-Silva JM, Villasenor E, Fonkalsrud EW, Atkinson JB. Surgical ligation of patent ductus arteriosus in very low birth weight infants: is it safe?. Am Surg. 1998;64(10):1007-9.
We evaluated the outcome of a combined medical and surgical treatment of patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) in newborns weighing less than 1500 g. Charts were retrospectively reviewed for 76 newborns with a PDA between 1993 and 1997. Thirteen infants had pre-existing conditions prohibiting the use of indomethacin; eight were managed surgically, five medically. The remaining 63 infants received indomethacin therapy. Thirty-two medical failures occurred, requiring surgical ligation of the PDA. Those requiring surgery had a lower average birth weight (847 versus 997 g) and gestational age (26 versus 28 weeks; P < 0.05). Indomethacin treatment was successful in 27 infants. There were only three operative complications: a small pneumothorax, wound bleeding, and a small aortic tear. All recovered uneventfully and no deaths were attributable to the surgical procedure itself. There was no difference in the incidence of respiratory distress syndrome, duration of intubation, sepsis, neonatal enterocolitis, renal dysfunction, bleeding disorders, or intraventricular hemorrhage among both groups. Surgical ligation of a PDA is associated with a high success rate, a low incidence of complications, and no additional morbidity than indomethacin alone. We propose that surgical ligation should be regarded as a first line therapy for very small premature infants who are at higher risk of medical failure.