My Chart

Presbyterian Heart and Vascular Care Providers

We have a highly skilled team who can provide a wide range of services from diagnosis to treatment.

Find a Provider

Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)

Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) is an unclosed hole in the aorta, a large artery. Before a baby is born, the fetus's blood does not need to go to the lungs to get oxygenated. The ductus arteriosus is a hole that allows the blood to skip the circulation to the lungs.

When the baby is born, that changes. Now the child's blood needs oxygen from the lungs. Normally, the hole closes on its own. If the ductus arteriosus stays open, the blood may not get oxygen. Failure of the ductus to close is common in premature infants but not in full-term babies.

What happens once you have patent ductus arteriosus (PDA)?

In a child with PDA, extra blood gets pumped from the bodies major artery (aorta) into the lung (pulmonary) arteries. The lungs can become congested from the extra blood being pumped into these arteries.

As a result, the heart and lungs work harder than they should. Over time this may cause permanent damage to the lungs blood vessels.

If the PDA is small, it may not cause symptoms. The only abnormal finding may be an unusual noise that can be heard with a stethoscope. With a large PDA, infants may have trouble feeding because they will be short of breath. Symptoms may appear a few weeks after birth.

What causes patent ductus arteriosus (PDA)?

In most children, the cause of PDA isn't known. Some children can have other heart defects along with the PDA.

What types of tests are used to diagnosis patent ductus arteriosus (PDA)?

A doctor, by listening through a stethoscope, might suspect a PDA by how the heartbeat sounds. They might request one or more of the following tests:

  • Chest X-ray: This scan is used to examine your heart, lungs, and blood vessels.
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG): This test shows your heart’s electrical activity.
  • Echocardiogram: This test uses sound waves to record moving images of the heart.
  • Cardiac catheterization: This test examines congenital heart defects. Through catheterization, the doctor may also be able to close the PDA.

What types of treatments and procedures are used to treat patent ductus arteriosus (PDA)?

Most children can have the PDA closed with catheters inserted into the leg's blood vessels. The catheter is threaded through the vessel to reach the PDA and close the hole (ductus).

If surgery is needed, an incision is made between the ribs. The ductus is closed by tying it with a suture (thread-like material) or with a small metal clip that squeezes the ductus closed. In premature babies, medicine can help close the ductus. After the first few weeks of life, medicine won't work as well.

What can I do to support my health when I have patent ductus arteriosus (PDA)?

Depending on the type of PDA closure, your child's pediatric cardiologist may want to examine it annually to ensure there are no problems.

Usually, after a PDA is closed, the child recovers. No medicines or additional surgery are needed.

Why choose Presbyterian for patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) treatment?

Presbyterian Heart and Vascular Care has a skilled vascular care team who can provide a wide range of services from diagnosis to treatment. Their surgeons are trained in many different techniques and procedures, many of which can provide you with a shorter recovery period and less hospital time.