Isolated Small Bowel Perforation Following Intrauterine Treatment with Indomethacin

Moshed Fejgin, Mehril Delpino, Khurshids Bidiwala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Indomethacin, a prostaglandin synthetase inhibitor, is an effective tocolytic agent that may have adverse fetal side effects such as constriction of the ductus arteriosus, pulmonary hypertension, and reduced urine production. We describe an unusual neonatal complication following 6 days of tocolysis with indomethacin. A 22-year-old gravida 5, para 3104 was admitted at 25 weeks of gestation in labor. Attempts to stop labor using magnesium sulfate and terbutaline failed. The contractions stopped following the administration of indomethacin, which was continued for 6 days. On day 7, due to contractions and vaginal bleeding, she underwent a classic cesarean section. The female newborn, weighing 1044 g, did well for 2 days, when she developed pneumoperitoneum. On laparotomy, an isolated midileal perforation was found, with otherwise normal-appearing bowel. Isolated intestinal perforation has been described in premature neonates who were treated with indomethacin for patent ductus arteriosus. This complication is caused by splanchnic ischemia secondary to the loss of the vasodilatory effect of prostaglandins. This case indicates that this rare but serious complication may also follow intrauterine exposure to indomethacin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-296
Number of pages2
JournalAmerican Journal of Perinatology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1994
Externally publishedYes


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