Preoperative echocardiographic measures of left ventricular mechanics are associated with postoperative vasoactive support in preterm infants undergoing patent ductus arteriosus ligation

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2017 Dec;154(6):2054-2059.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2017.06.051. Epub 2017 Jul 5.


Objective: Preoperative risk factors associated with poor outcomes after patent ductus arteriosus ligation in preterm infants have not been well defined. The aim of this study was to determine the association between preoperative echocardiographic measures of left ventricular mechanics and postoperative clinical outcomes after patent ductus arteriosus ligation.

Methods: Preterm infants less than 90 days of age with no other significant congenital anomalies who underwent patent ductus arteriosus ligation between 2007 and 2015 were considered for retrospective analysis. The primary outcome was peak postoperative vasoactive inotropic score. Conventional echocardiographic measures of ventricular size, function, and patent ductus arteriosus size were performed. Echocardiographic single-beat, pressure-volume loop analysis estimates of contractility (end-systolic elastance) and afterload (arterial elastance) were calculated. Ventriculoarterial coupling was assessed using the arterial elastance/end-systolic elastance ratio. Multivariable linear regression was performed using clinical and echocardiographic data.

Results: Echocardiograms from 101 patients (42.5% male) were analyzed. We found a statistically significant association between vasoactive inotropic score and both end-systolic elastance and arterial elastance. No patient with arterial elastance/end-systolic elastance greater than 0.78 (n = 32) had a vasoactive inotropic score 20 or greater. Analysis of our secondary outcomes found associations between preoperative end-systolic elastance and postoperative urine output less than 1 mL/kg/h at 24 hours, creatinine change greater than 0.5 mg/dL, and time to first extubation.

Conclusions: End-systolic elastance and arterial elastance were the only predictors of postoperative vasoactive inotropic score after patent ductus arteriosus ligation in preterm infants. Those neonates with increased contractility and low afterload were at highest risk for elevated inotropic support. These findings suggest a role for echocardiographic end-systolic elastance and arterial elastance in the preoperative assessment of preterm infants undergoing patent ductus arteriosus ligation.

Keywords: echocardiography; patent ductus arteriosus; preterm infant.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures* / adverse effects
  • Clinical Decision-Making
  • Ductus Arteriosus, Patent / diagnostic imaging*
  • Ductus Arteriosus, Patent / physiopathology
  • Ductus Arteriosus, Patent / surgery*
  • Echocardiography*
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Ligation
  • Male
  • Myocardial Contraction*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vasoconstrictor Agents / adverse effects
  • Vasoconstrictor Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Ventricular Function, Left*


  • Vasoconstrictor Agents