Patent Ductus Arteriosus

What is Patent Ductus Arteriosus?

Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) is a condition wherein the aorta and the pulmonary artery get linked as a consequence of the failure of normal closure of ductus arteriosus. It is a heart problem that occurs soon after birth in some babies. It results in open communication between aorta back and the pulmonary artery. Blood from higher pressured aorta back flows into pulmonary arteries. The flow depends on the size of PDA, i.e. the open communication between the arteries. If the PDA is small in size, it does not really indicate any problems and might not need any treatment, while if the PDA is large in size and is left untreated, it can give way to not well oxygenated blood to move in the wrong direction. It causes the heart muscles to weaken, further leading to a few complications and also heart failure.

This disease happens as a consequence of the closure of a significant fetal structure. Prostaglandin is a compound used to keep the flow of blood moving. The intake of prostaglandin inhibitors by a pregnant woman may not be good, and might lead the ductus arteriosus to close during the development of fetus.


This disease might not show any signs or symptoms, until sometime later in life. Its symptoms will always vary depending upon the size, Small PDA may show no signs, whereas a large PDA might show symptoms of a heart failure immediately after the time of birth. The signs may include:

  • Tiring easily.
  • Excessive sweating while eating or crying.
  • Breathlessness.
  • Heart palpitations.
  • Improper diet that leads to poor growth.



There is not really any clear cause of this disease, but environmental and genetic factors might play a significant role. This is a disease commonly occurring among girls. Some of the probable causes of the disease among babies include:

  • Genetic conditions like down syndrome regula.
  • Pulmonary stenosis.
  • Transposition of the great vessels.
  • Hypoplastic left heart syndrome.
  • Mothers suffering rubella at the time of pregnancy.


The main risk factors are:

  • Any family history, or other genetic conditions.
  • Baby born at a high altitude.
  • Premature birth.
  • Rubella infection at the time of pregnancy.


The disease is genetic and there is a probability of it occurring during pregnancy. To prevent the disease, one can follow the basics steps in order to have a completely healthy pregnancy:

  • Taking a healthy diet.
  • Regular physical workout.
  • Keeping diabetes under control.
  • Avoiding infections.
  • Seeking for prenatal help, before pregnancy.

How is it diagnosed?

Infants with this disease usually have a heart murmur, which can be heard through a stethoscope. However, a small PDA might not be detected until later in life. Also, prenatal diagnosis is must if ...

How is it treated?

With PDA, no other heart defects are present. Basically, the purpose of treatment is to shut the PDA. If at all any baby has other defects of the heart, it might be suggested to keep the probability of ductus arteriosus open. At Medanta, our cardi..

  • Medical Procedure

    Medicines like ibuprofen or indomethacin are the first choice of doctors, as they work wonders for the new born babies except for a few side-effects.

  • Transcatheter device closure

     The procedure makes use of a thin tube that is positioned into a blood vessel. The medical expert will run the blocking device with the help of a catheter to the point where the PDA is.

  • Surgery

    If above methods do not work, there might be the need of a surgery. In surgery small incision is created between ribs to correct the defect.

When do I contact the doctor?

You should contact the doctor immediately if your child suffers from breathlessness or heart palpitations. Keep a check on your baby, if he/she tires easily or there is frequent sweating while eating or crying. This may hint towards a disorder that needs to be treated. 

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