Patent ductus arteriosis PDA (1655)

Key points below

The ductus arteriousus is a blood vessel that connects two arteries, the pulmonary artery and the aorta. The pulmonary artery carries blood from the heart to the lungs. The aorta carries blood from the heart to the body. 

The ductus arteriosus normally closes shortly after birth. It’s called a PDA when it stays open, or patent.

The PDA is a normal structure in the fetus. While in the womb, the baby does not breathe. That means only a little blood needs to go to the baby’s lungs. The PDA allows blood to flow from the pulmonary artery to the aorta, bypassing the lungs. 

PDA heart

Why is a PDA a problem?

What are the symptoms?

Most children with a small PDA have no symptoms. Children and infants with large PDAs are more likely to have symptoms. These can include:

How is it diagnosed?

Heart problems in children are usually diagnosed and treated by a doctor called a pediatric cardiologist. Signs of a heart problem will be checked for during a physical exam. To confirm a diagnosis or learn more about a possible heart problem, several tests may also be done. These include:

How is it treated?

A PDA may close on its own without treatment. If it does not, treatment options depend on your child’s age and the size of the PDA. Options include: coil PDA

Risks and possible complications of cardiac catheterization or surgery 

What are the long-term concerns?


Call your child’s doctor, nurse, or clinic if you have any questions or concerns or if your child has:

  • Increased redness, draining, swelling, or bleeding at the incision or insertion site.
  • Fever of 100.4° F (38°C) or higher.
  • Trouble feeding.
  • Tiredness.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Cough that will not go away.
  • Irregular heartbeat.
  • Special health needs that were not covered in this sheet.