A prospective study of maternal preference for indomethacin prophylaxis versus symptomatic treatment of a patent ductus arteriosus in preterm infants
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BACKGROUND: The management of a patent ductus arteriosus in preterm infants continues to be debated among neonatologists due to the absence of concrete evidence that precisely weighs the long term outcomes of active, early intervention against a conservative approach. In the majority of institutions, parents are encouraged to play an active role in the complex, decision -making processes with regard to the care of their infants. The objective of this study is to elicit maternal preferences for indomethacin prophylaxis versus treatment of a patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) in extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants, utilizing a decision aid instrument (DAI). METHODS: Healthy and high risk pregnant women at 23-28 weeks gestation, and mothers of admitted ELBW infants were enrolled. A computer based, validated DAI was utilized during interviews. The DAI first provides information about prematurity and concurrent morbidities with comprehensive facts of the pros and cons about prophylactic versus treatment options. It subsequently coaches participants how to select values and preferences based on their decisions. A 17-item questionnaire assessed and valued each short and long term morbidity of extreme prematurity and preferred choice for PDA management. RESULTS: Two hundred ninety nine subjects were enrolled; 75% were healthy women at 23-28 weeks gestation, 19% were high risk and 6% recently delivered an ELBW infant. Eighty-two percent preferred a prophylactic indomethacin strategy versus symptomatic treatment for the management of PDA. Across a spectrum of potential morbidities, the occurrence of severe intraventricular hemorrhage was viewed by mothers as the most un-wanted outcome irrespective of the two proposed options. CONCLUSIONS: In contrast to neonatal practitioners, mothers who used this particular DAI strongly endorsed prophylactic indomethacin versus a treatment intervention for the management of PDA in preterm infants.
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