Objective - To determine the prevalence of intraoperative hemorrhage in a consecutive series of dogs undergoing patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) ligation at a veterinary teaching hospital, and to describe strategies to reduce the risk of ductus perforation and deal with hemorrhage when it occurs. Study Design - Retrospective clinical study. Animals - Sixty-four dogs. Methods - The records of all dogs undergoing PDA ligation at the University Veterinary Center, Sydney between May 1989 and February 1998 were reviewed and the prevalence and nature of complications identified. Results - Serious hemorrhage occurred in 4 of 64 dogs (6.25 %) that underwent PDA ligation. In all cases, hemorrhage resulted from perforation of the craniomedial aspect of the ductus while attempting to expose the tips of the dissecting forceps. Hemorrhage was controlled in 3 dogs by clamping the main pulmonary artery, digital compression of the descending aorta, and completion of ductus ligation during an approximately 5-minute period of circulatory arrest. The remaining dog exsanguinated during an unsuccessful attempt to locate, clamp, and ligate the bleeding point. The mortality rate for PDA ligation was 1 of 64 dogs (1.6 %). Conclusions - The technique described in this report permits simple ligation of a range of different ductus morphologies in dogs of varying breeds, weights, and ages. In the event of serious hemorrhage, prompt ventricular outflow occlusion and ductus ligation followed by rapid whole blood transfusion is life saving in most cases.
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