Massive gastric hemorrhage after indomethacin therapy: A rare presentation and critical management in an extremely preterm infant

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Indomethacin has been widely used in preterm infants with hemodynamically significant patent ductus arteriosus (PDA). Gastrointestinal complications of indomethacin have been reported in 5% of treated neonates. However, massive gastric mucosa hemorrhage is a rarely reported complication. To the best of our knowledge, the infant in this report is the smallest reported in the literature to have undergone successful surgery for such a complication. A male preterm infant weighing 566 g was born at 252/7 weeks of gestational age without a complicated maternal history. Soon after birth, he received nasal noninvasive respiratory support and minimal feeding. PDA was observed since the first day of life (DOL), treatments were initiated on the second DOL for the hemodynamical significance, and PDA was closed after two courses of indomethacin therapy (0.2 mg/kg). At midnight on the seventh DOL, generalized pallor, bloody gastric drainage, and a distended stomach were observed. Massive gastric bleeding was suspected. He suffered from intermittent hypotension, which was corrected with blood products and fluid resuscitation under monitoring with a radial arterial line. Gastric lavage with cooling saline was performed twice but in vain. Prior to surgical consultation, intravascular volume transfusion was given twice. An exploratory laparotomy was arranged after obtaining the parents’ consent. Blood oozing from the gastric mucosa was observed through gastrostomy and was successfully stopped via epinephrinesoaked gauze compression. After the operation, his clinical course remained uneventful, and he was discharged without neurological anomaly at two-year follow-up. Physicians need to be cautious of indomethacin’s effect on platelet dysfunction in preterm infants with multiple predisposing factors. The tendency for mucosal bleeding should be continuously monitored after indomethacin therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number545
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jul

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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