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Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)


Overview

The ductus arteriosus is a blood vessel that connects the aorta and the pulmonary artery in the fetus. When the blood vessel does not close after birth as it should, the problem is called patent ductus arteriosus (PDA).

Left untreated, PDA can cause damage to the blood vessels in the lungs, called pulmonary hypertension. Infants and children may have no symptoms other than a heart murmur. If the PDA is large and allows a lot of blood to flow from the aorta to the lungs, the child may have symptoms of congestive heart failure.


Normal heart – in a healthy heart with proper blood flow, the blue droplets representing oxygen-poor blood travel to the lungs, and the red oxygen-rich droplets circulate through the body.

Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) – in a heart with patent ductus arteriosus, the blood vessel connecting the aorta and pulmonary artery does not close after birth, allowing blood to improperly flow to the lungs.



Treatments

Most children can have the patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) closed using medical devices in the cardiac catheterization lab. In some cases, surgery may be required to correct the problem. The videos below show a heart with patent ductus arteriosus and several options for treating it.


Heart with patent ductus arteriosus (PDA)

Catheter placed and dye inserted – during a cardiac catheterization procedure, a pediatric interventional cardiologist guides a catheter through a leg artery up to the aorta to the area of the PDA. Dye is inserted into the catheter so the physician can more clearly see the area needing treatment. The cardiologist measures the size and places a device in the PDA to block it. Once blocked the PDA will close off. The child can usually go home the same day.

Coil used to close the PDA – during a cardiac catheterization procedure, a pediatric interventional cardiologist guides a catheter through a leg artery up to the aorta to the area of the PDA. The cardiologist measures the size and places a device in the PDA to block it. Once blocked the PDA will close off. The child can usually go home the same day.

Using a device to close the PDA – during a cardiac catheterization procedure, a pediatric interventional cardiologist guides a catheter through a leg artery up to the aorta to the area of the PDA. The cardiologist measures the size and places a device in the PDA to block it. Once blocked the PDA will close off. The child can usually go home the same day.

Surgery to close a PDA – in some cases, surgery may be required to correct the problem. Surgery is most often needed for premature infants who are too small for the medical devices. Surgery includes:

  • General anesthesia
  • Opening the chest under the left arm
  • Placing a clip on the PDA that clamps off blood flow