Persistent patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) in preterm infants is associated with increased mortality and respiratory morbidities, including bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD). Despite recent increasing use of noninterventional approaches, no study to our knowledge has yet directly compared the nonintervention vs pharmacologic treatment for mediating PDA closure for decreasing mortality and preventing BPD.
To determine the noninferiority of nonintervention vs oral ibuprofen treatment for PDA in decreasing BPD incidence or death in very preterm infants.
Design, Setting, and Participants
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, noninferiority clinical trial was conducted on preterm infants (gestational age [GA] 23-30 weeks) with hemodynamically significant PDA (ductal size >1.5 mm plus respiratory support) diagnosed between postnatal days 6 and 14. Participants included 383 infants screened between July 24, 2014, and March 15, 2019.
Infants were stratified by GA and randomly assigned (1:1) to receive either oral ibuprofen (initial dose of 10 mg/kg followed by a 5-mg/kg dose after 24 hours and a second 5-mg/kg dose after 48 hours) or placebo.
Main Outcomes and Measures
The primary outcome was BPD or death; the secondary outcomes included major morbidities and ductal closure rates. Per-protocol analysis was used.
Among 383 infants screened for participation, 146 infants were randomly assigned, with 72 in the nonintervention and 70 in the ibuprofen treatment group in the final analyses. The PDA closure rate at 1 week after randomization was significantly higher with ibuprofen (11 [34%]) than nonintervention (2 [7%]) in infants at GA 27 to 30 weeks (P = .007); however, the findings were not significant at GA 23 to 26 weeks (ibuprofen, 3 [8%] vs nonintervention, 1 [2%], P = .34). In addition, the ductal closure rates before hospital discharge (ibuprofen, 62 [89%] vs nonintervention, 59 [82%], P = .27) and device closure (ibuprofen, 2 [3%] vs nonintervention, 4 [6%], P = .40) were not significantly different between the 2 groups. The nonintervention approach was noninferior to ibuprofen treatment in terms of BPD incidence or death (nonintervention, 44%; ibuprofen, 50%; 95% CI, −0.11 to 0.22; noninferiority margin −0.2; P = .51). One infant in the ibuprofen arm received oral ibuprofen backup rescue treatment owing to cardiopulmonary compromise refractory to conservative management, and another infant in the ibuprofen group received surgical ligation; none of the infants in the placebo group received backup treatment.
Conclusions and Relevance
Nonintervention showed noninferiority compared with ibuprofen treatment in closing of hemodynamically significant PDA and reduction of BPD or death. The noninferiority of nonintervention over ibuprofen might be attributable to the low efficacy of oral ibuprofen for closing PDA, especially in infants born at 23 to 26 weeks’ gestation.