The incidence of marked retardation of growth in children with patency of the ductus arteriosus was reviewed in an operative series from the New York Hospital and from the literature. Retardation in growth was present in approximately one-third to one-half of the children.
Almost all of the patients in the New York Hospital series with serious growth impairment remained retarded following otherwise successful surgery on the ductus at ages 3 to 14 years. Periods of postoperative observation ranged from 1 to 10 years, averaging 4 years.
Possible reasons for persistent impairment of growth are considered.
This observation is the basis for a recommendation of early operation for patients with patent ductus arteriosus who become retarded in height and weight. It is anticipated that this will afford a better chance of reversibility of the abnormal growth pattern, if the retardation has not persisted too long during the period of most rapid growth.