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What is Prostaglandin E1?

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Quick Answer

Prostaglandin E1 is a drug given to infants who have ductal-dependent pulmonary blood flow and ductal-dependent congenital cardiac defect, according to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital. It is given due to the risk of metabolic acidosis and progressive hypoxia in these infants.

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When prostaglandin E1 is given to an infant, it helps prevent the ductus arteriosus from closing, notes the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital. The drug helps with management of the newborn and to reduce the risk of ductus-dependent congenital heart disease in infants. It is used to stabilize the baby and as a temporary treatment until the infant is transferred to a tertiary care nursery to receive surgical therapy.

Before receiving prostaglandin E1, the infant first has a series of tests and studies performed, the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital explains. These tests include a chest x-ray to look for decreased pulmonary vascularity, a hyperoxic challenge test to look at the right radial artery blood gases and a serum glucose test to see if the newborn is hypoglycemic. Other tests include a haematocrit and adequacy of ventilation.

Prostaglandin E1 is administered to an infant through a large peripheral vein or umbilical line, according to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital.

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