Am J Perinatol 1998; 15(10): 561-565
DOI: 10.1055/s-2007-994061

© 1998 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc.

Echocardiographic Evidence of Aortopulmonary Collaterals in Premature Infants After Closure of Ductus Arteriosus

Robert Birnbacher1 , E. Proll2 , Ch. Kohlhauser1 , M. Marx2 , M. Schlemmer2 , M. Dobner 2 , U. Salzer-Muhar2
  • 1Department of Neonatology and Intensive Care, University Children's Hospital, Vienna, Austria
  • 2Department of Cardiology, University Children's Hospital, Vienna, Austria
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
04 March 2008 (online)


Aortopulmonary collaterals occur in a variety of congenital heart diseases, in chronic pulmonary infection and abscesses, in association with lung tumors, and after multiple pulmonary emboli. In patients with congenital cyanotic heart disease aortopulmonary collaterals mainly occur in conditions with reduced pulmonary blood flow. We investigated 12 preterm low-birth-weight infants, gestational age 29.3 ± 3.3 weeks, with respiratory failure who suffered from moderate to severe chronic lung disease after a period of mechanical ventilation. All patients developed aortopulmonary collaterals after closure of a patent ductus arteriosus. Aortopulmonary collaterals could be displayed clearly by color Doppler echocardiography and originated mainly from the descending aorta or the aortic arch. Hypoxic and hypercapnic episodes favored the development of aortopulmonary collaterals, which disappeared after pulmonary hemodynamics and respiratory function had improved. In only one patient coiling of a large collateral vessel had to be performed. Systemic-to-pulmonary collateral vessels potentially aggravate chronic lung disease by increasing collateral pulmonary blood flow and reducing lung compliance. We conclude that aortopulmonary collaterals occur in bronchopulmonary dyspla-sia and can cause major problems in ventilated premature infants. Echocardiographic evaluation is important to prevent aggravation of chronic lung disease of infants at risk.