Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)

Patent Ductus ArteriosusThe ductus arteriosus is a blood vessel that connects the aorta and pulmonary arteries. It’s a vital part of a baby's circulation within the heart before they're born.

What Is a PDA?

In most cases, the blood vessel closes shortly after birth. If it stays open, it’s called a PDA.

This duct causes extra blood flow into the lungs and the left side of the heart.

We see PDAs in premature infants.

In these babies, the extra blood to flow to the lungs can cause problems with breathing. Sometimes we need to put them on a breathing machine.

At the Heart Cath Lab at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, we have vast experience successfully closing PDAs in tiny infants. We often work with doctors in our NICU and those of nearby hospitals.

PDAs can also occur in older infants and children.

In this group, issues from this open duct often start when they're much older — like in their 20s or 30s. We can see changes in the left side of the heart and lungs.

Refer a Patient to the Interventional Cardiology Program at UPMC Children's Hospital

To refer a patient, doctors can:

How Do You Treat PDAs in the Heart Cath Lab?

We can successfully close most PDAs with a heart cath and avoid the need for open-heart surgery.

We're not able to close all PSDs in the cath lab. The doctor will review your child's echocardiogram to decide if it's the right treatment option.

During your child's heart cath, the doctor will:

  • Make a small incision in their groin and insert a catheter into a blood vessel.
  • Guide the catheter to the PDA and use a special plug or coil-shaped device to close the duct.
  • Remove the catheter.

After this procedure, your child can often go home the same day after they recover. But we advise most people to plan to stay overnight so we can observe their child.