In this section
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.
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.