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Outcome following patent ductus arteriosus ligation in premature infants: a retrospective cohort analysis

LLeona CL Lee1, Angela Tillett2, Robert Tulloh3, Robert Yates4 and Wilf Kelsall5*

Author Affiliations

1 NICU, Southmead Hospital, Bristol, UK

2 Department of Paediatrics, Colchester General Hospital, Turner Road, Colchester, UK

3 Department of Congenital Heart Disease, Paul O'Gorman Building, Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, Upper Maudlin Street, Bristol, UK

4 Cardiothoracic Unit, Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, UK

5 NICU Box 226, Addenbrookes NHS Trust, Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 2QQ, UK

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BMC Pediatrics 2006, 6:15  doi:10.1186/1471-2431-6-15

Published: 11 May 2006



The patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) is an important problem in premature infants. Surgical PDA ligation is usually only be considered when medical treatment has either failed or was contraindicated. The aims of our study were to determine the mortality and morbidity following patent ductus arteriosus ligation in premature infants, and whether prostaglandin synthetase inhibitor (PSI) use prior to ligation affects outcome.


A retrospective case note review study to determine the outcome of premature infants undergoing patent ductus arteriosus ligation in one tertiary neonatal intensive care unit and two paediatric cardiothoracic centres.


We had follow-up data on 87 infants. Cumulative mortality rates at 7 days, 30 days and at hospital discharge were 2%, 8% and 20% respectively. The incidence of chronic lung disease, intraventricular haemorrhage, necrotising enterocolitis and retinopathy of prematurity were 77%, 39%, 26% and 28% respectively. There was no difference in mortality, incidence of chronic lung disease or duration of oxygen dependence between those who had and those who had not received a PSI prior to surgical ligation. In those who had received 2 or more courses of PSI prior to surgical ligation, there was a trend to increase in the duration of oxygen therapy and chronic lung disease, but no difference in mortality.


This study shows that patent ductus arteriosus ligation is a relatively safe procedure (30 day survival 92%) but there is substantial late mortality and a high incidence of morbidity in the survivors. 2 or more courses of PSI prior to surgical ligation trends to increased oxygen dependence and chronic lung disease. This high risk population requires careful follow-up. A definitive prospective cohort study is lacking.