Patent ductus arteriosus symptoms vary with the size of the defect and the gestational age of the infant at birth. A small PDA may cause no signs or symptoms, and may go undetected for some time, even until adulthood. A large PDA can cause signs of heart failure soon after birth.

Your doctor may first suspect a heart defect during a regular checkup while listening to your baby's heart through a stethoscope.

A large PDA, found during infancy or childhood, may cause:

  • Poor eating, poor growth
  • Sweating with crying or eating
  • Persistent fast breathing or breathlessness
  • Easy tiring
  • Rapid heart rate
  • A bluish or dusky skin tone

When to see a doctor

Call your doctor if your infant or child:

  • Tires easily when eating or playing
  • Is not gaining weight
  • Becomes breathless when eating or crying
  • Always breathes rapidly or is short of breath
  • Turns dusky or blue when crying or eating
Dec. 22, 2011

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