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Patent Ductus Arteriosus

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This is actually a condition in which the ductus arteriosus does not close. The ductus arteriosus is a blood vessel that allows blood to go around the baby's lungs before birth. Soon after the infant is born and the lungs fill with air, the ductus arteriosus is no longer needed. It usually closes in a couple of days after birth.

Signs and Symptoms

A small PDA may not show any symptoms. Some infants may have symptoms such as:

  • Fast breathing
  • Poor feeding habits
  • Rapid pulse
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating while feeding
  • Tiring very easily
  • Poor growth


This is true that PDA affects girls more often than boys. This condition is more common in premature infants and those with neonatal respiratory distress syndrome. Its causes are:

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


In premature babies, PDA closes within the first 2 years of life. If 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. The earlier treatment is given, the more likely it is to succeed.
  • A medical procedure is used if medications don’t work well or can’t be used.
  • Catheter procedure is carried out in which a thin, hollow tube placed into a blood vessel. The doctor passes a small metal coil or other blocking device through the catheter to the site of the PDA. This blocks blood flow through the vessel. These coils can help the baby avoid surgery.