Colour Doppler flow mapping was used to determine the time of closure of the arterial duct in 51 healthy newborn infants. Initial time of closure corresponded with previous reports: 20% on the first day, 82% by the second day, 96% by the third day, and 100% by the fourth day. Twenty infants were delivered by caesarean section and followed up for seven days even if the duct had apparently closed; in six intermittent patency was demonstrated with flow in the third, fourth or fifth day, although earlier functional closure had been observed. All were found to be closed on the sixth and seventh days. It is necessary to be aware of the phenomenon of intermittent closure in any study determining or assessing the effect of any intervention on ductal patency.
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