BACKGROUND: Transcatheter occlusion of the arterial duct is a safe and effective alternative to surgical closure. The Rashkind umbrella occluder and the Cook coil are two established devices, although the former is no longer manufactured. AIMS: To assess any difference in outcomes between the use of the Cook detachable coil and the Rashkind double umbrella in patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) occlusion. METHODS: A retrospective study of 77 patients in whom PDA occlusion was attempted using the Cook detachable PDA coil from March 1996 to March 2000. A comparison was carried out with patients in whom occlusion was attempted using the Rashkind double umbrella between 1989 and 1996. RESULTS: The rate of immediate complete occlusion was 24% compared with 29.9% for the Rashkind device. The figure for complete occlusion after 24 hours with the PDA coil was 63% compared with 61.5% in the Rashkind group (p > 0.1). The overall closure rate in the coil group was 72% versus 74.6% for umbrellas. CONCLUSION: The outcome in terms of complete duct closure using the Cook coil is comparable with figures obtained using the Rashkind umbrella. Both devices have a good safety profile in the short and medium-terms.