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
The Heart Program 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.
Lourdes Prieto, MD, Pediatric and Adult Congenital Cardiologist with Nicklaus Children's Hospital Heart Program, explains what is a PDA in babies.
Lourdes Prieto, MD, Pediatric and Adult Congenital Cardiologist with Nicklaus Children's Hospital Heart Program, explains what the PDA closure procedure is like.
Lourdes Prieto, MD, Pediatric and Adult Congenital Cardiologist with Nicklaus Children's Hospital Heart Program, explains the different methods to close a PDA in preterm babies (premies) and full term babies.
Lourdes Prieto, MD, Pediatric and Adult Congenital Cardiologist with Nicklaus Children's Hospital Heart Program, explains the use of Amplatzer Piccolo Occluder for the closure of PDA in babies.
Patient Success Stories
Baby Jackson, born after only 24 weeks of gestation, was very fragile and required oxygen around the clock. His parents were referred to Nicklaus Children's Hospital to repair his patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) a congenital heart defect that occurs commonly in premature infants.
Learn more about
Congenital Heart Defects/Disease
Any unusual physical feature or health problem that is present at the birth of a baby is known as a birth defect or a congenital anomaly.
Pulmonary Atresia (PA)
Pulmonary atresia is a birth defect of the heart where the valve that controls the flow of blood from the right side of the heart to the lungs does not form, preventing blood picking up oxygen.
When the heartbeat is interrupted by unusual sounds such as blowing, whooshing or rasping, it’s called a heart murmur.
Transcatheter Patent Ductus Arteriosus Closure
Transcatheter patent ductus arteriosus closure is a method of correcting PDA without the need for a surgical procedure and avoiding a scar on the chest/back.
Patent Ductus Arteriosus Ligation
Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) is a heart defect that’s present at birth. When the condition is present, a vein that normally closes at birth (the ductus arteriosus) stays open. The result is that oxygen-rich blood that should be circulating into the body instead goes back to the lungs. PDA ligation is a procedure to repair this problem.
Amplatzer Piccolo Occluder
The Amplatzer Piccolo Occluder is a treatment for the congenital heart defect known as patent ductus arteriosus (PDA).