Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)

Also known as: PDA

What is ​Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)?

Patent ductus arteriosus is a heart condition that affects some babies soon after birth. Before birth the ductus arteriosus is the blood vessel that carries most of the body’s blood that flows to the heart, through the pulmonary artery to the aorta which in the fetus takes the blood to be oxygenated by the mother's placenta. Normally after a baby is born, the lungs fill with air, and the ductus arteriosus closes, as it is no longer needed. However, in some babies, the vessel remains open and causes abnormal blood flow between the aorta and pulmonary artery which puts a strain on the baby’s heart. This is patent ductus arteriosus.

What causes patent ductus arteriosus?

Doctors aren’t exactly sure what causes patent ductus arteriosus, and often there is no clear cause. It is more common in girls and premature babies. Certain other conditions, such as Down syndrome or other heart defects, make patent ductus arteriosus more likely, so genetic & environmental factors may play a role.

What are the symptoms of patent ductus arteriosus?

Babies with patent ductus arteriosus may be short of breath, have rapid breathing or heartbeat, get tired easily, have trouble feeding or not grow well. They may also have no symptoms.

What are patent ductus arteriosus care options?

Depending on its severity, patent ductus arteriosus can be treated with medication, surgery, or transcatheter closure.


Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: August 12, 2020 03:40 PM

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The Heart Institute at Nicklaus Children's Acquires FDA-Approved Amplatzer Piccolo™ Occluder to Perform Non-Surgical Closures of Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) in Premature Infants in its Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory

May 28, 2020 – The Heart Institute now offers the recently FDA-approved Amplatzer Piccolo™ Occluder to close PDAs in very premature babies in the Cath Lab. This self-expanding, wire mesh device is designed specifically to fit within the PDA of very low weight preemies with little risk of interference with adjacent structures.

How is a patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) treated?

Lourdes Prieto, MD, Pediatric and Adult Congenital Cardiologist with Nicklaus Children's Hospital Heart Institute, explains the different methods to close a PDA in preterm babies (premies) and full term babies.