Duration of ductal shunting in healthy preterm infants: an echocardiographic color flow Doppler study

J Pediatr. 1988 Mar;112(3):441-6. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3476(88)80333-0.


The purpose of this investigation was to assess the duration of ductal shunting after birth in healthy preterm infants (30 to 37 weeks gestational age) without evidence of respiratory distress. Thirty-six infants were evaluated in the first 12 hours of life by means of two-dimensional echocardiography and color flow Doppler techniques, and then once daily until no ductal flow was detected (defined as functional closure). Preterm infants were subdivided into two groups by gestational age: group 1 = 30 to 33 weeks (n = 12); group 2 = 34 to 37 weeks (n = 24). Sixteen full-term infants (38 to 41 weeks) were similarly evaluated as control subjects (Group 3). One infant from each group had a closed ductus at the time of the first study (performed at a mean of 7.7 +/- 3.2 hours). Subsequent studies for the entire group were performed at a mean of 31.3 +/- 5.4 hours (day 2), 55.0 +/- 4.5 hours (day 3), and 80.3 +/- 6.1 hours (day 4). For the three groups, the rates of ductal closure ranged from 50.0% to 58.3% on day 2 and 81.3% to 87.5% on day 3. For the entire group, all but one infant had demonstrated closure of the ductus arteriosus by day 4. Within the range of gestational ages studied, we conclude that prematurity, in the absence of respiratory distress syndrome, does not prolong the initial duration of physiologic ductal shunting.

MeSH terms

  • Ductus Arteriosus / physiopathology
  • Ductus Arteriosus, Patent / physiopathology*
  • Echocardiography
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature / physiology*
  • Rheology
  • Time Factors