Fifty two sick neonates with major duct dependent cardiac defects were given short term intravenous infusions of prostaglandin E1 (alprostadil) in doses varying between 0.005 and 0.1 micrograms/kg/minute. The object of the study was to try to achieve an effective but safe regiment that could be instituted as soon as such a diagnosis was suspected. Effective clinical improvement was achieved at each dosage but the incidence of side effects seemed to be dose related, and no serious side effects were noted at a dosage of 0.005 to 0.01 micrograms/kg/minute. It is recommended that a low dosage regimen be started before transfer to a paediatric cardiac centre.
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