Agile Global Health Blog

What is Patent Ductus Arteriosus?

May 10, 2017 / A&K Global Health

Before we discuss patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), let’s quickly review how the normal heart functions: the heart is a pumping machine with two sides. The right side pumps blood to the lungs to collect oxygen. The oxygen-rich blood then returns from the lungs to the left side of the heart, which pumps it to the whole body.

Now, what is PDA?

A baby in the womb receives oxygen from the mother’s lungs; therefore, there is no need for the baby’s heart to pump blood to its own lungs. The ductus arteriosus (DA) is a blood vessel, present in all babies in the womb, which allows blood to bypass the lungs. After birth, the baby needs its own lungs for oxygen supply and the DA normally closes within 2-3 weeks. If the DA remains open after three months of life in preterm infants, or after one year of life in full-term infants, the medical condition is known as patent (meaning open) ductus arteriosus, or PDA.

What are the effects of PDA?

What symptoms should I look for, and when?

How is PDA diagnosed?

The patient may undergo a few tests, which could include an echo, chest x-ray, magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA), and/or cardiac computed tomography (CT).

What are the treatment options for PDA?

What can the child do after undergoing surgery for PDA?

Have questions? Have a disease, treatment, or medical topic you’d like to learn about? Comment on this post to let us know.


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