Risk factors for having a patent ductus arteriosus include:

  • Premature birth. Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) occurs more commonly in babies who are born too early than in babies who are born full term.
  • Family history and other genetic conditions. A family history of heart defects and other genetic conditions, such as Down syndrome, increase the risk of having a PDA.
  • Rubella infection during pregnancy. If you contract German measles (rubella) during pregnancy, your baby's risk of heart defects increases. The rubella virus crosses the placenta and spreads through the baby's circulatory system, damaging blood vessels and organs, including the heart.
  • 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. 16, 2014

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