Intrauterine Growth Restriction and Patent Ductus Arteriosus in Very and Extremely Preterm Infants: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Eduardo Villamor-Martinez*, Mohammed A. Kilani, Pieter L. Degraeuwe, Ronald I. Clyman, Eduardo Villamor-Martinez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review


It is generally accepted that intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) increases morbidity and mortality among very preterm neonates. However, evidence is hampered by the widespread practice of using the terms small for gestational age (SGA) and IUGR as synonyms. We conducted a systematic review of studies reporting on the association between IUGR/SGA and patent ductus arteriosus (PDA). PubMed/MEDLINE and EMBASE databases were searched. Of 993 studies reviewed, 47 (50,790 infants) were included. Studies were combined using a random effects model and sources of heterogeneity were determined by subgroup and meta-regression analyses. Meta-analysis of all included studies showed a significantly reduced risk of PDA in the SGA/IUGR group with an odds ratio (OR) of 0.82, and a 95% confidence interval (CI) of 0.70 to 0.96 (p = 0.015). Of the 47 studies, only 7 used a definition for growth restriction that went beyond birth weight (BW) for gestational age (GA). When pooled, meta-analysis could not demonstrate a significant effect size (OR 1.31, 95% CI 0.75 to 2.27, p = 0.343). Moreover, the significantly reduced risk of PDA was found in the 25 studies defining SGA as BW <10th percentile (OR 0.81, 95% CI 0.66 to 0.98, p = 0.032), but not in the 6 studies defining SGA as BW <3rd (OR 1.09, 95% CI 0.70 to 1.71, p = 0.694), or in the 27 studies using a more refined definition of PDA (i.e., hemodynamically significant PDA or PDA requiring treatment, OR 0.87, 95% CI 0.72 to 1.04, p = 0.133). In addition, we found that GA was significantly higher in the SGA/IUGR group (18 studies, mean difference 0.63 weeks, 95% CI 0.24 to 1.03, p = 0.002). Meta-regression analysis confirmed the correlation between this difference in GA and PDA risk. In summary, we observed marked heterogeneity across studies in the definition of growth restriction and PDA, and we found differences between the control and growth-restricted groups in relevant baseline characteristics, such as GA. Therefore, our meta-analysis could not provide conclusive evidence on the association between growth restriction and PDA.

Original languageEnglish
Article number58
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalFrontiers in Endocrinology
Publication statusPublished - 8 Feb 2019


  • small for gestational age
  • growth restriction
  • patent ductus arteriosus
  • very preterm infant
  • meta-analysis
  • meta-regression


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