A new serial echocardiographic contrast technique for detection of patent ductus arteriosus has been developed and validated by clinical course (33 infants), surgical observations (13 infants) and autopsy observations (4 infants). A left to right shunting patent ductus arteriosus was demonstrated in 30 of 33 prospectively studied premature infants (mean weight 1,371 g) using this new contrast method. The demonstration of left to right ductal shunting was accomplished by hand injection of a nonviscous material (saline solution, 5 percent dextrose in water or the patient's own blood) through an umbilical arterial catheter placed with its tip located above the diaphragm during recording of a suprasternal notch echocardiogram. In positive studies, both the transverse aortic arch and right pulmonary artery were opacified. If no left to right shunt existed, only the transverse aortic arch was opacified. This serial study helped elucidate the natural history of patent ductus arteriosus. Twenty-four of the 30 patients with a positive study initially had a left to right shunting patent ductus arteriosus without an audible murmur. Three of these patients with silent patent ductus arteriosus later had congestive heart failure and two required operative ligation of the patent ductus. The high rate of detection of silent patent ductus arteriosus and its bedside confirmation when suspected are important in the serial management of critically ill newborns with this condition. The test is safe and sensitive and it is useful for early demonstration of silent patent ductus arteriosus, for clarifying the origin of murmurs and for confirming spontaneous, operative or pharmacologie closure of a patent ductus arteriosus.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine