Management of the patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) is one of the most contentious topics in the care of preterm infants. PDA management can be broadly divided into prophylactic and symptomatic therapy. Prophylaxis with intravenous indomethacin in extremely low birth weight infants may reduce severe intraventricular hemorrhage. Echocardiography should be routinely used to confirm the presence of a PDA before considering symptomatic therapy. A symptomatic PDA can be managed conservatively, using pharmacotherapy or with procedural closure. Ibuprofen should be considered as the pharmacotherapy of choice for a symptomatic PDA. High-dose ibuprofen may be preferable, especially for preterm infants beyond the first 3 to 5 days of age. If pharmacotherapy fails (after two courses) or is contraindicated, procedural closure may be considered for infants with a persistent PDA with significant clinical symptoms in addition to echocardiographic signs of a large PDA shunt volume and pulmonary over-circulation.
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