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J Pediatr. 2001 Feb;138(2):205-11.

Early versus late indomethacin treatment for patent ductus arteriosus in premature infants with respiratory distress syndrome.

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Department of Paediatrics, Division of Neonatology, University Hospital Antwerpen, Antwerpen, Belgium.



To compare efficacy and side effects of early versus late indomethacin treatment for patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) in premature infants.


One hundred twenty-seven neonates receiving ventilatory assistance (gestational age: 26-31 weeks) with PDA confirmed by echocardiography were randomly assigned in a prospective multicenter trial to either early (day 3, n = 64) or late (day 7, n = 63) intravenous indomethacin treatment (3 x 0.2 mg/kg every 12 hours). Treatment history and side effects were registered.


The PDA closure rate was higher in the early treatment group at both 6 (73% vs 44%, P =.0008) and 9 days of age (91% vs 78%, P =.047). However, there was no significant difference in PDA ligation. Urine output was significantly lower (P <.0001), serum creatinine level was higher (P =.016), and more indomethacin courses were administered in the early treatment group (70 vs 26). Respiratory support, number of deaths, and intraventricular hemorrhages were similar in both groups. However, on the whole, major adverse events (death, necrotizing enterocolitis, and/or localized perforation, extension of hemorrhage, or cystic leukomalacia) occurred more frequently in the early treatment group (P =.017).


Early indomethacin treatment improves PDA closure but is associated with increased renal side effects and more severe complications and has no respiratory advantage over late indomethacin administration in ventilated, surfactant-treated, preterm infants <32 weeks' gestational age.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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