Prolonged indomethacin therapy for the prevention of recurrences of patent ductus arteriosus

J Pediatr. 1990 Nov;117(5):771-6. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3476(05)83342-6.


We tested the hypothesis that prolonged maintenance indomethacin therapy would allow more effective closure of patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) and thereby decrease the recurrence rate. Thirty-nine low birthweight neonates (less than 1500 gm) with confirmed PDA were randomly assigned in a double-blind fashion to receive standard indomethacin therapy (three doses), followed either by maintenance indomethacin therapy (0.2 mg/kg/day) for 5 days or by an equivalent volume of placebo for 5 days. Of the 20 infants who received maintenance indomethacin therapy, two (10%) required additional therapy and one of these required surgical ligation. Of the 19 infants who received only the first three indomethacin doses, nine (47%) required additional therapy for PDA (p less than 0.05) and seven of these had a ligation (p less than 0.05). We conclude that maintenance indomethacin therapy, in comparison with short-term indomethacin therapy, decreases the incidence of surgical PDA ligations, eliminates most PDA recurrences, and does not increase toxic effects of indomethacin in the low birth weight infant with PDA.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Birth Weight
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Ductus Arteriosus, Patent / drug therapy*
  • Ductus Arteriosus, Patent / surgery
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Indomethacin / administration & dosage*
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Ligation
  • Placebos
  • Recurrence
  • Time Factors


  • Placebos
  • Indomethacin