The aorta moves blood away from the heart to the rest of the body. The pulmonary artery moves blood from the heart to the lungs.
Before birth and for a few days after birth, the pulmonary artery and the aorta are connected by a short blood vessel called the ductus arteriosus.
After birth, the ductus needs to close quickly so blood can flow normally, first through the lungs and then to the body.
Patent is a medical term that means "open." In patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), the ductus arteriosus doesn't close.
Premature babies are more likely to have PDA
Often there aren't any symptoms, but a doctor listening with a stethoscope may hear a heart murmur (an unusual sound between heartbeats)
Doctors treat PDA with medicine and sometimes surgery
Babies with PDA have a higher than normal chance of getting a heart infection
Patent Ductus Arteriosus: Failure to Close
Doctors aren't sure why the ductus arteriosus doesn't close as it should in some babies, but PDA is much more common in premature babies.
Treatment depends on:
Sometimes a small PDA will close on its own. This usually happens before a baby is 1 year old. If doctors need to treat your baby's PDA, they may: