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Patent ductusarteriosus (PDA) is a continual opening between two major blood vessels leading from the heart. The opening, called the ductusarteriosus, is a normal part of a baby's circulatory system before birth that usually closes shortly after birth. But if it remains open, it's called a patent ductusarteriosus.A small patent ductusarteriosus often doesn't cause problems butif a large patent ductusarteriosusis left untreated can allow poorly oxygenated blood to flow in the wrong direction, weakening the heart muscle and causing heart failure and other complications.


The symptoms of patent ductusarteriosusvary with the size of the defect and whether the baby is full-term or premature. Often a small PDA causes no signs or symptoms and goes undetected for some time — at times until adulthood, however, a large PDA can cause signs of heart failure soon after birth.

Doctors might first suspect a heart defect during a regular checkup after hearing a heart murmur while listening to the baby's heart through a stethoscope.

A large PDA found during infancy or childhood might cause:

  • Sweating while crying or eating
  • Persistent fast breathing or breathlessness
  • Poor eating
  • Easy tiring
  • Rapid heart rate


Heart defects from birth arise due to early problems in the heart's development. However, there's no clear cause. Genetics and environmental factors might play a role. Generally, PDA affects girls more often than boys and it is more prevalent in premature infants and those with neonatal respiratory distress syndrome. Its causes are:

  • Mothers with rubella during pregnancy
  • Infants with genetic disorders such as Down syndrome
  • Babies with congenital heart problems such as hypoplastic left heart syndrome transposition of the great vessels, and pulmonary stenosis


The PDA, in case of pre mature babies, closes within the first 2 years of life. And, when a child is full-term, a PDA rarely closes on its own after the first few weeks.

  • Medications are primarily used to treat PDA as they work very well for some newborns, with few side effects though. The earlier the treatment gets started, higher the chance of it getting succeed.
  • Medical process begins only when medications don’t work well or can’t be used.
  • The procedure of placing catheter into a blood vessel is followed. During which, doctors pass a small metal coil or other blocking device through the catheter to the site of the PDA. This is done to block the blood flow through the vessel. These coils can help the baby avoid surgery.
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