PATENT DUCTUS ARTERIOSUS
What is the ductus arteriosus?
The ductus arteriosus is a wide muscular blood vessel
joining the pulmonary artery (main artery to the lungs) to the aorta (main artery to the
body). This connection allows blood to be diverted from the lungs into the aorta during
fetal development since the baby does not breathe until after delivery. The ductus
arteriosus normally closes after birth. If it fails to close, PDA (patent or open ductus
arteriosus) occurs and blood continues to flow from the aorta to the pulmonary artery. The
effects of this altered circulation are :
- increased work of breathing
- increased workload on the heart
- fluid in the lung
- right heart enlargement
- increased lung workload
|Diagram of the normal heart:
blood flows from the left ventricle, into the aorta, and then out to the rest of the body.
||Diagram of a heart with a PDA
(patent ductus arteriosus): blood flows from the left ventricle, into the aorta, and then
into the pulmonary artery (instead of going to the body where it is needed).
How is a PDA (patent ductus arteriosus) treated?
In small or premature babies, medicine may be used first to
try to close the ductus arteriosus. In some cases medicine does not work or cannot be used
and the ductus arteriosus must be closed surgically. Surgical correction includes closure
of the PDA through a left thoracotomy incision (left underarm). The ductus is closed with
a clip or is tied shut. In older children, medical treatment does not work. The ductus can
be closed surgically or, in some children, a device placed through the artery into the
ductus can be used.