Patent Ductus Arteriosus - PDA

  • Failure of the Ductus to close in the early weeks of life, as normally occurs, results in a PDA. This allows blood to flow between the aorta and the pulmonary artery, leading to an increase in flow in the lung circulation. The effects are similar to those of a VSD.  In many cases the ductus is small and the main risk for the child's health is that of possible 'Endocarditis'. The problem is usually manifested by the presence of a heart murmur. When the communication is small there may be no symptoms. If the PDA is large the pressure in the lungs may be elevated and such larger defects lead to breathlessness, poor feeding and slow weight gain. Most PDAs require closure to avoid complications.

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    Since 1939, when the first successful surgical procedure was performed to eliminate a PDA, operation has been advised for almost all patients, even when the Ductus is small (to remove the risk of Endocarditis).  In recent years the preferred approach for a small PDA is 'Coil occlusion' of the ductus.

    With a large PDA other devices may be used to effect closure. These include the Amplatzer PDA Occluder.

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