Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)

A persistent vascular connection between the aorta and pulmonary artery that normally closes after birth. A PDA allows a fetus to bypass the lungs, because oxygen is coming from the placenta. After a baby is born, the vessel is supposed to close so that blood can follow a normal pathway of going to the lungs for oxygen and then to the heart to be pumped to the body.

common questions

How is a PDA diagnosed?

Most infants with a PDA will have a heart murmur that is detected with the aid of a stethoscope. The diagnosis is confirmed by echocardiography, which is an ultrasound of the heart.

How is it treated?

Treatment depends on the overall clinical status of the patient. Watchful waiting, intravenous medication, and surgery are all options your child’s doctor will discuss with you.
 

further reading

Comprehensive overviews of Patent Ductus Arteriosus

U.S. National Library of Medicine

American Heart Association

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