Munson Health
Patent Ductus Arteriosus

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by Rosenblum L


Symptoms vary with the size of the ductus and the amount of blood that flows through it. If the ductus is small, there may be no symptoms. When symptoms occur, they include:
In some babies, symptoms may not occur until a few weeks or months after birth. Occasionally it is not found until a much later age.
Even when there are no symptoms, the baby is at higher risk for a serious infection called endocarditis.


A PDA causes a heart murmur because of the blood flow from the aorta to the pulmonary artery. This characteristic sound can be heard during a physical exam. In premature babies, this heart murmur—accompanied by heart failure—is enough to diagnose PDA. A chest x-ray shows an enlarged heart and extra blood flow in the lungs.
In older children, a chest x-ray is usually normal. An echocardiogram is done to show the flow of blood through the PDA and confirm the diagnosis.


American Heart Association

Children's Heart Institute



Canadian Cardiovascular Society

Canadian Family Physician



American Heart Association website. Available at:

Patent ductus arteriosus. In: The Heart Center Encyclopedia. Cincinnati Children's Hospital Heart Center at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center website. Available at: Accessed December 2002.

Understanding congenital heart defects. Mayo Adult Congenital Heart Disease Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research website. Available at: Accessed October 2002.


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