Prophylactic indomethacin therapy in the first twenty-four hours of life for the prevention of patent ductus arteriosus in preterm infants treated prophylactically with surfactant in the delivery room

J Pediatr. 1996 May;128(5 Pt 1):631-7. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3476(96)80127-2.


Objective: To determine whether a course of low-dose indomethacin therapy, when initiated within 24 hours of birth, would decrease ductal shunting in premature infants who received prophylactic surfactant in the delivery room.

Design: Ninety infants, with birth weights of 600 to 1250 gm, were entered into a prospective, randomized, controlled trial to receive either indomethacin, 0.1 mg/kg per dose, or placebo less than 24 hours and again every 24 hours for six doses. Echocardiography was performed on day 1 before treatment and on day 7, 24 hours after treatment. A hemodynamically significant patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) was confirmed with an out-of-study echocardiogram, and the nonresponders were treated with standard indomethacin or ligation.

Results: Forty-three infants received indomethacin (birth weight, 915 +/- 209 gm; gestational age, 26.4 +/- 1.6 weeks; 25 boys), and 47 received placebo (birth weight, 879 +/- 202 gm; gestational age, 26.4 +/- 1.8 weeks; 22 boys) (P = not significant). Of 90 infants, 77 (86%) had a PDA by echocardiogram on the first day of life before study treatment; 84% of these PDAs were moderate or large in size in the indomethacin-treated group compared with 93% in the placebo group. Nine of forty indomethacin-treated infants (21%) were study-dose nonresponders compared with 22 (47%) of 47 placebo-treated infants (p < 0.018). There were no significant differences between both groups in any of the long-term outcome variables, including intraventricular hemorrhage, duration of oxygen therapy, endotracheal intubation, duration of stay in neonatal intensive care unit, time to regain birth weight or reach full caloric intake, incidence of bronchopulmonary dysplasia, and survival. No significant differences were noted in the incidence of oliguria, elevated plasma creatinine concentration, thrombocytopenia, pulmonary hemorrhage, or necrotizing enterocolitis.

Conclusion: The prophylactic use of low doses of indomethacin, when initiated in the first 24 hours of life in low birth weight infants who receive prophylactic surfactant in the delivery room, decreases the incidence of left-to-right shunting at the level of the ductus arteriosus.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Birth Weight
  • Ductus Arteriosus, Patent / prevention & control*
  • Electrocardiography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Indomethacin / administration & dosage*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pulmonary Surfactants / therapeutic use
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Pulmonary Surfactants
  • Indomethacin