Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)

When a baby is in the womb, it doesn't use its lungs. The oxygen in its blood comes from its mother. Because of this, an unborn baby has a special blood vessel called the "ductus arteriosis." It connects the baby's aorta and pulmonary artery. Soon after birth, this vessel should close. But with this condition, it stays open. This can cause serious issues.


Why does this vessel sometimes stay open? We don't always know. Problems early in the heart's development may play a role. It may be linked to a genetic issue like Down syndrome. It may result from a viral infection during pregnancy. It's more common in girls and in babies who are born early. And, being born at high altitude raises the risk.


What are the symptoms? Well, it depends on how large the connection is between the aorta and pulmonary artery. If it's small, you may not notice any symptoms. But a large connection can let blood mix in ways it shouldn't. The heart must work harder to supply the body's needs. This leads to tiredness and poor eating. It causes rapid breathing and a fast heart rate. It can cause heart failure.


How do we treat it? In some babies, this vessel closes on its own over time. Medications may help it close. If it doesn't close, we can close it with a catheter procedure or a surgery. The doctor will create a plan that's right for you.