Gestational Age-Dependent Variations in Effects of Prophylactic Indomethacin on Brain Injury and Intestinal Injury
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OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the impact of prophylactic indomethacin on early death (<10 days after birth) or severe neurologic injury and on early death or spontaneous intestinal perforation by completed weeks of gestational age in neonates born <29 weeks of gestation. STUDY DESIGN: This was a multicenter, retrospective cohort study of neonates (n = 12 515) born at 236/7 weeks of gestational age, admitted to neonatal intensive care units participating in the Canadian Neonatal Network who received prophylactic indomethacin started within the first 12 hours after birth. Univariate and multivariate analysis compared the composite outcomes of early death or severe neurologic injury and early death or spontaneous intestinal perforation. RESULTS: Of 12 515 eligible neonates, 1435 (11.5%) were exposed to prophylactic indomethacin; recipients were of lower gestational age and birth weight and had greater severity of illness (Score of Neonatal Acute Physiology with Perinatal Extension) on admission compared with nonrecipients. After we adjusted for confounders, prophylactic indomethacin was associated with reduced odds of early death or severe neurologic injury and early death or spontaneous intestinal perforation in neonates born at 23-24 weeks of gestational age. However, prophylactic indomethacin was associated with increased odds of early mortality or spontaneous intestinal perforation for neonates born at 26-28 weeks of gestational age. CONCLUSIONS: Prophylactic indomethacin use was associated with benefit in neonates born at 23-24 weeks of gestational age, but with harm at 26-28 weeks of gestational age. Given the observation of significantly improved survival, a randomized controlled trial is needed to investigate the effect of prophylactic indomethacin in babies born at 23-25 weeks of gestational age.
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