Risk factors for having a patent ductus arteriosus include:

  • Being born too soon (premature). Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) occurs more commonly in babies who are born too early than in babies who are born full term.
  • Having other heart defects. Babies who have other heart problems when they're born (congenital heart defects) are also more likely to have a patent ductus arteriosus.
  • Family history and other genetic conditions. If you have a family history of heart defects, it's more likely your child may have a patent ductus arteriosus. Other genetic conditions, such as Down syndrome, also have been linked to an increased chance of having a PDA.
  • Rubella infection during pregnancy. Becoming infected with rubella (German measles) while pregnant can increase the risk of heart defects. The rubella virus crosses the placenta and spreads through the baby's circulatory system damaging blood vessels and organs, including the heart.
  • Having a female baby. PDAs are much more common in girls than in boys.
  • Being born at a high altitude. Babies born above 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) have a greater risk of a PDA than babies born at lower altitudes.
Dec. 22, 2011

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