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Pediatrics. 1986 Jul;78(1):10-4.

Phototherapy effect on the incidence of patent ductus arteriosus in premature infants: prevention with chest shielding.


Patent ductus arteriosus is common among premature neonates, especially those with birth weights less than 1,500 g. In vitro, room light inhibits the contraction of immature piglet's ductal rings. Because phototherapy is used frequently from the first days of life to treat jaundice in preterm neonates, we compared the occurrence of patent ductus arteriosus among premature infants exposed to this intense light source with those whose chests were shielded. Seventy-four babies with respiratory distress syndrome were randomly assigned to either a treatment group (chest shielded with aluminum foil while on phototherapy, 36 babies) or control group (no shield, 38 babies). All were on radiant warmers, received mechanical ventilation for respiratory distress syndrome, and phototherapy (Air Shields model PTU 78-1) from day 1 of life. Irradiance was maintained at greater than 4.0 microW/cm2/nm in all cases. Although both groups had similar birth weights, gestational ages, severity of respiratory distress syndrome, intravenous fluid intake, and duration of phototherapy, the incidence of patent ductus arteriosus was significantly less in the shield group (shield 11/36 v No shield 23/38; P = .009). Patent ductus arteriosus murmurs developed in shielded patients at a later date, they required less vigorous treatment (ie, indomethacin), and they had shorter hospitalizations (74 v 85 days; P less than .05). The significant reduction of patent ductus arteriosus with shielding suggests that phototherapy may play a role in the occurrence of patent ductus arteriosus in premature infants. Shielding may be a practical method to decrease this common complication should this initial observation be confirmed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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