A patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) is a blood vessel connecting the aorta with the pulmonary artery. This channel is important prior to birth to allow oxygen-rich blood from the mother to circulate throughout the fetus’s body. Normally, the vessel closes shortly after birth. If it does not close, oxygen-rich blood can mix with oxygen-poor blood. This causes the heart to overwork.
PDA has a high occurrence in premature infants and neonates with persistent respiratory problems such as hypoxia. PDA occurs in approximately 1 in 2.000 births and accounts for approximately 5 - 10 % of all congenital heart disease.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF A PDA?
Severity of symptoms often depends on the size of the PDA. Small PDAs may cause no symptoms and are sometimes only detected by the doctor hearing a heart murmur through a stethoscope. Medium to large PDAs may cause fatigue, poor growth and eventually lead to heart failure. All sizes of PDAs may increase a patient’s risk for a bacterial infection.
HOW IS A PDA TREATED?
There are several treatment options for a PDA, and there is no single option that is right for every patient. The first option is medication, which may be appropriate to help close the PDA or in treating symptoms associated with the PDA. Another treatment option is an open-heart surgery. The third option is a minimally invasive catheter-based procedure where a small occluder is inserted through a small incision in the groin and guided through vessels to the heart, where it is placed to seal the duct.