Determine associations between left vocal cord paralysis (LVCP) and poor respiratory, feeding, and/or developmental outcomes in extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants following surgical closure of a patent ductus arteriosus (PDA).
ELBW infants who underwent PDA ligation between January 2004 and December 2006 were identified. We compared infants with and without LVCP following ligation to determine relationships between LVCP and respiratory morbidities, feeding and growth difficulties, and neurodevelopmental impairment at 18-22 month follow-up. Student's t test, Fisher exact test, and multivariable regression analyses were used to determine associations.
60 ELBW infants with a mean gestational age of 25 weeks and mean birth weight of 725 g had a PDA surgically closed. Twenty-two of 55 survivors (40%) were diagnosed with LVCP post-operatively. Infants with LVCP were significantly more likely to develop bronchopulmonary dysplasia (82% vs. 39%, p = 0.002), reactive airway disease (86% vs. 33%, p<0.0001), or need for gastrostomy tube (63% vs. 6%, p<0.0001).
LVCP as a complication of surgical ductal ligation in ELBW infants is associated with persistent respiratory and feeding problems. Direct laryngoscopy should be considered for all infants who experience persistent respiratory and/or feeding difficulties following PDA ligation.