Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Your child's doctor might suspect a patent ductus arteriosus based on your child's heartbeat. PDA can cause a heart murmur that the doctor can hear through a stethoscope.

If the doctor suspects a heart defect, he or she might request one or more of the following tests:

  • Echocardiogram. Sound waves produce images of the heart that can help the doctor identify a PDA, see if the heart chambers are enlarged, and judge how well the heart is pumping. This test also helps the doctor evaluate the heart valves and detect other potential heart defects.
  • Chest X-ray. An X-ray image helps the doctor see the condition of your baby's heart and lungs. An X-ray might reveal conditions other than a heart defect, as well.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG). This test records the electrical activity of the heart, which can help the doctor diagnose heart defects or rhythm problems.
  • Cardiac catheterization. This test isn't usually necessary for diagnosing a PDA alone, but it might be done to examine other congenital heart defects found during an echocardiogram or if a catheter procedure is being considered to treat a PDA. A thin, flexible tube (catheter) is inserted into a blood vessel at your child's groin or arm and guided through it into the heart. Through catheterization, the doctor can do procedures to close the patent ductus arteriosus.
Dec. 16, 2014