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Patent ductus arteriosus in a late preterm neonate: think congenital hypopituitarism
  1. Rui Kwan1,
  2. Rashida Farhad Vasanwala2 and
  3. Vijayendra Ranjan Baral3
  1. 1Department of Paediatric Medicine, KK Women's and Children's Hospital, Singapore
  2. 2Endocrinology Service, Department of Paediatric Medicine, KK Women's and Children's Hospital, Singapore
  3. 3Department of Neonatal and Developmental Medicine, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore
  1. Correspondence to Dr Rashida Farhad Vasanwala; rashida.farhad{at}


A late preterm female neonate presented with initial respiratory distress and heart murmur attributed to a haemodynamically significant patent ductus arteriosus (hsPDA) not responding to two courses of ibuprofen. Thyroid function performed for prolonged neonatal jaundice at 3 weeks of life suggested central hypothyroidism. Subsequent adrenocorticotropic hormone stimulation test showing hypocortisolism and MRI revealing adenohypophysis hypoplasia confirmed the diagnosis of congenital hypopituitarism (CH). Commencement of hydrocortisone followed by thyroxine replacement coincided with clinical closure of the hsPDA within 72 hours of treatment. Hypothyroidism and hypocortisolism may have contributed to persistent hsPDA. Thyroid hormone increases cytochrome P450 activity, endothelin-1 and fibronectin expression. Hydrocortisone decreases sensitivity of ductus arteriosus to PGE2. These mechanisms have been postulated to cause ductal constriction and closure. Our case supports this association. hsPDA in a term and near-term neonate with a protracted disease course or associated midline defects should prompt the clinician to suspect CH (hypothyroidism and/or hypocortisolism).

  • neonatal health
  • pituitary disorders

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  • Contributors RK wrote the initial draft of the article. VRB reviewed the drafts, obtained parental consent and provided input from a neonatology perspective. RFV reviewed the drafts and provided input from an endocrinology perspective.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Case reports provide a valuable learning resource for the scientific community and can indicate areas of interest for future research. They should not be used in isolation to guide treatment choices or public health policy.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.