Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

A patent ductus arteriosus might be found while your baby is in the hospital after birth or it might be discovered later, sometimes because of a heart murmur. If your child's pediatrician suspects a PDA, he or she might refer you to a doctor who specializes in treating children with heart conditions (pediatric cardiologist).

Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.

What you can do

  • Be aware of pre-appointment restrictions. When you make the appointment, ask if there's anything you need to do in advance — such as restrict your child's diet.
  • Write down your child's symptoms, including any that might seem unrelated to patent ductus arteriosus or another heart defect.
  • Bring copies of past medical records, including reports from previous surgeries or imaging tests.
  • List medications, vitamins or supplements that your child takes.
  • Write down questions to ask the doctor.

For patent ductus arteriosus, questions to ask include:

  • Is the PDA causing problems?
  • What tests are necessary?
  • Will my child need surgery?
  • What are the alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
  • Should my child see a cardiologist specializing in congenital heart defects?
  • Is this condition inherited? If I have another child, how likely is he or she to have a PDA?
  • Do I need to restrict my child's activities?
  • Are there brochures or other printed material I can have? What websites do you recommend?

Don't hesitate to ask other questions, as well.

What to expect from your doctor

The doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:

  • When did you notice your child's symptoms?
  • Have the symptoms been continuous or occasional?
  • How severe are the symptoms?
  • What, if anything, seems to improve the symptoms?
  • What, if anything, seems to worsen the symptoms?
  • What medications has your child taken to treat the condition? What surgeries has your child had?
Dec. 16, 2014