The journal of maternal-fetal & neonatal medicine : the official journal of the European Association of Perinatal Medicine, the Federation of Asia and Oceania Perinatal Societies, the International Society of Perinatal Obstetricians

Early paracetamol treatment associated with lowered risk of persistent ductus arteriosus in very preterm infants.

PMID 24111688


Persistent ductus arteriosus (PDA) delays the recovery of very preterm infants (VLGA, gestation <32 weeks). Indomethacin/ibuprofen treatment and ligation of PDA have complications. As a prostaglandin synthase inhibitor paracetamol may also promote the closure of ductus arteriosus. We studied retrospectively whether early paracetamol therapy was associated with decreased incidence of PDA without adverse events. On June 2009, we introduced intravenous paracetamol during early respiratory therapy. We included 105 VLGA infants who received paracetamol before the age of 72 h. The loading dose was 20 mg/kg followed by 7.5 mg/kg every 6 hours. The 96 VLGA infants admitted from January 2008 to May 2009 without lethal congenital disease were controls. Infants dying very early were excluded, leaving 102 paracetamol-exposed and 88 controls for analysis. After the introduction of paracetamol, the incidence of PDA decreased from 30.7% to 14.7% (p = 0.008). Ibuprofen treatment was given to 15 paracetamol-treated and to 26 control infants (p = 0.013). Three paracetamol-exposed and seven control infants required surgery. There was no detectable increase in adverse events. Annual incidence of PDA decreased after introduction of paracetamol. Efficacy and safety in promoting the early closure of ductus arteriosus remains to be established.