The effect of patent ductus arteriosus on flow velocity in the anterior cerebral arteries: ductal steal in the premature newborn infant

J Pediatr. 1981 Nov;99(5):767-71. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3476(81)80408-8.


Marked changes in blood flow velocity in the anterior cerebral arteries, measured by a Doppler technique, have been related to PDA in premature infants. Thus, 55 premature infants of birth weight less than 2,000 gm were studied. Ten developed PDA between days three and ten of life. A sharp decrease in diastolic flow velocity and an increase in pulse amplitude in the ACA was observed with the occurrence of PDA. Return of these values to normal occurred promptly following closure of the lesion. These changes in flow velocity and pulse amplitude in the ACA appear to be determined principally by changes in systemic diastolic pressure which accompany PDA. There was no consistent relationship between the changes in flow velocity and arterial PCO2 values. These data suggest that PDA may be involved in the genesis of ischemic and hemorrhagic cerebral injury in the premature newborn infant. Thus, the decrease in flow velocity appears to represent a "steal" of blood from the cerebral arteries, analogous to other documented steal phenomena observed in older patients. Major fluctuations of blood flow velocity in the ACA, with opening and closure of the PDA, and the increase in amplitude of each pulse with PDA may, in the presence of disturbed autoregulation, cause rupture of the capillaries of the germinal matrix and thus, IVH.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Blood Pressure
  • Carbon Dioxide / blood
  • Cerebral Arteries / physiopathology
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation*
  • Ductus Arteriosus, Patent / physiopathology*
  • Ductus Arteriosus, Patent / therapy
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Pulse


  • Carbon Dioxide