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

Pediatric Cardiology: Heart Program

The Heart Program – a world leader in pediatric cardiology and cardiovascular surgery and the care of children with congenital heart disorders – serves as a beacon to families confronting the reality of a child or newborn with a heart defect.

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The Heart Program 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

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.

Related Videos

What is patent ductus arteriosus (PDA)?

Lourdes Prieto, MD, Pediatric and Adult Congenital Cardiologist with Nicklaus Children's Hospital Heart Program, explains what is a PDA in babies.

Cardiac catheterization procedure to close a patent ductus arteriosus (PDA)

Lourdes Prieto, MD, Pediatric and Adult Congenital Cardiologist with Nicklaus Children's Hospital Heart Program, explains what the PDA closure procedure is like.

How is a patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) treated?

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.

Dr. Prieto discusses the FDA-approved piccolo device for patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) closure

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

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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.

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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. Learn more

Heart Murmur

When the heartbeat is interrupted by unusual sounds such as blowing, whooshing or rasping, it’s called a heart murmur. Learn more

​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.​ Learn more

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. Learn more

Amplatzer Piccolo Occluder

The Amplatzer Piccolo Occluder is a treatment for the congenital heart defect known as patent ductus arteriosus (PDA). Learn more

Amplatzer Piccolo Occluder

The Amplatzer Piccolo Occluder is a treatment for the congenital heart defect known as patent ductus arteriosus (PDA). Learn more