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Patent Ductus Arteriosus


Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) is a condition where the ductus arteriosus, an opening between the aorta and pulmonary artery, fails to close in a child after birth.
Causes are not known but some possibilities include:

  • Premature birth
  • Genetic defects like Down syndrome
  • Mother of the child having German measles during pregnancy

Symptoms may not be present when the opening is very small. If present, they may include:

  • Heart murmur
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Respiratory problems
  • Fast breathing
  • Breathlessness
  • Poor eating
  • Poor weight gain
  • Sweating on exertion
  • Congestive heart failure

In premature infants, the opening may close on its own within a few weeks. In cases where the opening is unable to close, treatment may include:

  • Medications to block the hormones that keep the ductus arteriosus open
  • Catheterization to plug the opening with help of a catheter
  • Surgery to stitch or clip the opening

There is no specific prevention for PDA but avoiding the mentioned risk factors may lower the risk.