Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
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Home / A–Z Services / Pediatric Heart Institute / Heart Conditions / Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)
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Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)


What is Patent Ductus Arteriosus(PDA)?
PDA is present in all unborn infants. This blood vessel connects the pulmonary artery to the aorta while the unborn child is in the mother. This blood vessel is necessary to bring blood directly to the body, bypassing the child's lungs. The unborn child does not use its own lungs, it relys on the mother's placenta to provide oxygen. After delivery, the infant breathes air in to the lungs and the PDA normally closes. Premature infants have a higher chance of the PDA remaining open due to lack of muscle tissue in this blood vessel.

If the PDA does not close after birth, it allows blood from the aorta to flow back in the lungs through the PDA.

How do we diagnose PDA?
A heart murmur may be heard, and the diagnosis of PDA can be confirmed by echocardiogram. 

How do we treat PDA?
The PDA may be closed in the cardiac catheterization by placing a coil in the blood vessel. The coil can be placed through a catheter passed through the heart. A premature infant may require the use of a medication that can often be effective in closing the blood vessel. If the medication does not work, or if the blood vessel is too large, surgery is possible.

Last Edited: July 11, 2012
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