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BMC Pediatr. 2018 Feb 16;18(1):66. doi: 10.1186/s12887-018-1054-6.

Prospective observational study on assessing the hemodynamic relevance of patent ductus arteriosus with frequency domain near-infrared spectroscopy.

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Department of Neonatology, University Children's Hospital, Calwerstr. 7, 72076, Tuebingen, Germany.
Department of Neonatology, University Children's Hospital, Tuebingen, Germany.
Department of Neonatology, University Hospital Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.
Center for Pediatric Clinical Studies, University Children's Hospital, Tuebingen, Germany.



What constitutes a hemodynamically relevant patent ductus arteriosus (hrPDA) in preterm infants is unclear. Different clinical and echocardiographic parameters are used, but a gold standard definition is lacking. Our objective was to evaluate associations between regional cerebral tissue oxygen saturation (rcStO2), fraction of tissue oxygen extraction (rcFtO2E) measured by frequency domain near-infrared spectroscopy (fd-NIRS) and their correlation to echocardiographic, Doppler-ultrasound, and clinical parameters in preterm infants with and without a hrPDA.


In this prospective observational study, 22 infants < 1500 g (mean [± SD]: gestational age 28.6 [±1.8] weeks, birth weight 1076 [±284] g, median (interquartile range) postnatal age at measurement 7.6 (4.6-12.9) d) with a clinical suspicion of hrPDA were analysed. Twelve infants had left-to-right shunt through PDA, and in 6 of these the PDA was classified as hrPDA based on pre-defined clinical and echocardiographic criteria. fd-NIRS, echocardiographic and Doppler-ultrasound examinations were performed. After identification of blood hemoglobin (Hb) as confounding factor, rcStO2 and rcFtO2E were corrected for this effect.


Overall mean ± standard deviation (normalised to a median Hb of 13.8 mg/dl) was 57 ±5% for rcStO2 and 0.39 ±0.05 for rcFtO2E. Comparing no-hrPDA with hrPDA infants, there were no significant differences in mean rcStO2 (58 ±5% vs. 54 ±5%; p = .102), but in mean rcFtO2E (0.38 ±0.05 vs. 0.43 ±0.05; p = .038). Echocardiographic parameter and Doppler indices did not correlate with cerebral oxygenation.


Oxygen transport capacity of the blood may confound NIRS data interpretation. Cerebral oxygenation determined by fd-NIRS provided additional information for PDA treatment decisions not offered by routine investigations. Whether indicating PDA therapy based on echocardiography complemented by data on cerebral oxygenation results in better outcomes should be investigated in future studies.


Cerebral oxygenation; Doppler-ultrasound; Echocardiography; Near-infrared spectroscopy; Patent ductus arteriosus; Preterm infants; Tissue oxygenation

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