The morphology of the human newborn ductus arteriosus: a reappraisal of its structure and closure with special reference to prostaglandin E1 therapy

Hum Pathol. 1981 Dec;12(12):1123-36. doi: 10.1016/s0046-8177(81)80333-4.


The ductus arteriosus was examined in 103 fetuses and infants to define the normal structure, development, and morphologic features of the functional and anatomic phases of ductal closure. New contributions include ultrastructural observations and the light microscopic definition of the junctional regions of the ductus with the pulmonary artery and aorta. Observations relating to ductal closure include hyperemia of the ductal vasa vasorum, the presence of longitudinal muscle bands in the inner media, necrosis of the inner ductal wall, and organization of intraluminal thrombi. We found that a ductus arteriosus that fails to close normally is liable to show morphologic lesions, including intimal fibrinous deposits, medial hemorrhages, and dissecting aneurysms. The findings were used comparatively to investigate whether prostaglandin E1 infusion, given to maintain ductal patency in 7 infants with ductus dependent congenital heart disease, was associated with specific morphologic features. We could not delineate specific changes attributable to its use.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Birth Weight
  • Ductus Arteriosus / drug effects
  • Ductus Arteriosus / pathology*
  • Ductus Arteriosus / ultrastructure
  • Ductus Arteriosus, Patent / drug therapy
  • Ductus Arteriosus, Patent / pathology
  • Female
  • Fetal Death
  • Gestational Age
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / drug therapy
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Necrosis
  • Pregnancy
  • Prostaglandins E / therapeutic use*
  • Vasa Vasorum / pathology


  • Prostaglandins E