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Patent ductus arteriosus in a late preterm neonate: think congenital hypopituitarism

Abstract

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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