Review of studies evaluating ductal patency in the premature infant

J Pediatr. 1993 Jun;122(6):S59-62. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3476(09)90044-0.


A series of investigations has been performed to assess the timing of physiologic closure of the ductus arteriosus in premature infants with and without respiratory distress syndrome. The data from these studies emphasize the concept of physiologic ductal patency and give normative data for expected closure rates through the fourth day of life. On the basis of these data, patency on or beyond the fourth day of life is abnormal irrespective of gestational age, and prematurity, in the absence of respiratory distress syndrome, is not a risk factor for persistent patent ductus arteriosus. We also found that persistent patent ductus arteriosus in larger premature infants (> or = 30 weeks of gestation) with respiratory distress syndrome is relatively uncommon. Last, ductal patency was evaluated in a group of low birth weight infants with severe respiratory distress syndrome in a randomized, double-blind trial of exogenous surfactant administration. We concluded that the beneficial effects of exogenous surfactant are not associated with either a greater clinical need for indomethacin or any increased risk of delayed closure of the ductus arteriosus.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ductus Arteriosus, Patent* / complications
  • Ductus Arteriosus, Patent* / diagnosis
  • Ductus Arteriosus, Patent* / physiopathology
  • Ductus Arteriosus, Patent* / therapy
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pulmonary Surfactants / therapeutic use
  • Respiration, Artificial
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Newborn / complications
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Newborn / therapy
  • Risk Factors


  • Pulmonary Surfactants