Spontaneous closure of the human fetal ductus arteriosus - A cause of fetal congestive heart failure

G. Hofstadler, G. Tulzer, R. Altmann, K. Schmitt, D. Danford, J. C. Huhta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Closure of the fetal ductus arteriosus, which is usually due to nonsteroidal antiinflammatory agents, may be detrimental. Therefore prenatal and postnatal clinical and echocardiographic findings in four human fetuses with spontaneous ductus arteriosus occlusion are reported. STUDY DESIGN: Echocardiographic and clinical data were retrospectively analyzed. RESULTS: Spontaneous closure of the ductus arteriosus was discovered in four fetuses (gestational age 34 to 38 weeks). No mother had received nonsteroidal antiinflammatory agents. Enlargement of the right heart and pulmonary arteries and tricuspid and pulmonary regurgitation were present in all cases. Two fetuses had right ventricular hypertension. Postnatally their right ventricular function recovered promptly. The others had severe right heart failure with abnormal umbilical venous pulsations. After immediate delivery none had signs of persistent pulmonary hypertension. However, they have echocardiographic evidence of right ventricular dysfunction 2 to 6 months after delivery. CONCLUSIONS: Occlusion of the fetal ductus arteriosus may also occur in the absence of treatment with nonsteroidal antiinflammatory agents. Immediate delivery resulted in good clinical outcome, although right ventricular dysfunction may persist.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)879-883
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Doppler echocardiography
  • Fetal ductus arteriosus
  • congestive heart failure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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