Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) is a congenital heart problem. This means your baby was born with it.
Before birth, babies have a blood vessel near the heart called the ductus arteriosus. This blood vessel normally closes in the first two weeks after a baby is born. But sometimes this blood vessel doesn't close. ("Patent" means open.) This may make the baby's heart work harder.
Babies with PDA often have symptoms such as poor feeding or shortness of breath. But some babies don't have symptoms.
Your baby may need special care, such as being in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). This may be scary for you. The hospital staff understands this. They will explain what happens and will answer your questions.
Sometimes the blood vessel closes on its own, so no treatment is needed. This may take from a few days to several months.
Treatment is generally not needed if your baby has no symptoms. But babies who are born early (premature) may need treatment even if they have no symptoms.
There are different ways to treat PDA. The doctor might give your baby a medicine to close the blood vessel. Or the doctor might use surgery or a thin tube called a catheter to close it.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and
call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to
know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child
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Current as of:
July 26, 2016
Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics
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