Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) is a persistent opening between two major blood vessels leading from the heart. This normal connection, called the ductus arteriosus, is a necessary part of the baby's circulatory system before birth. It usually closes shortly after the baby is born. However, in some individuals it remains open (patent). When this occurs, it's called a patent ductus arteriosus.

A small patent ductus arteriosus often doesn't cause symptoms or problems and may never need treatment. Untreated, a large patent ductus arteriosus can cause too much poorly oxygenated blood to flow through the heart, weakening the heart muscle and causing heart failure and other complications.

Treatment options for repairing a patent ductus arteriosus include monitoring, medications, and closure by cardiac catheterization or surgery.

Dec. 22, 2011

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