Association between Platelet Counts before and during Pharmacological Therapy for Patent Ductus Arteriosus and Treatment Failure in Preterm Infants

Front Pediatr. 2018 Mar 7:6:41. doi: 10.3389/fped.2018.00041. eCollection 2018.


Background: The role of platelets for mediating closure of the ductus arteriosus in human preterm infants is controversial. Especially, the effect of low platelet counts on pharmacological treatment failure is still unclear.

Methods: In this retrospective study of 471 preterm infants [<1,500 g birth weight (BW)], who were treated for a patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) with indomethacin or ibuprofen, we investigated whether platelet counts before or during pharmacological treatment had an impact on the successful closure of a hemodynamically significant PDA. The effects of other factors, such as sepsis, preeclampsia, gestational age, BW, and gender, were also evaluated.

Results: Platelet counts before initiation of pharmacological PDA treatment did not differ between infants with later treatment success or failure. However, we found significant associations between low platelet counts during pharmacological PDA therapy and treatment failure (p < 0.05). Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis showed that platelet counts after the first, and before and after the second cyclooxygenase inhibitor (COXI) cycle were significantly associated with treatment failure (area under the curve of >0.6). However, ROC curve analysis did not reveal a specific platelet cutoff-value that could predict PDA treatment failure. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that lower platelet counts, a lower BW, and preeclampsia were independently associated with COXI treatment failure.

Conclusion: We provide further evidence for an association between low platelet counts during pharmacological therapy for symptomatic PDA and treatment failure, while platelet counts before initiation of therapy did not affect treatment outcome.

Keywords: ductal closure; ibuprofen; indomethacin; patent ductus arteriosus; platelets; preterm infant.