Patent ductus arteriosus

Understanding heart related symptoms and features

Symptoms may affect multiple parts of the body. Understanding which part of the body a symptom affects, can help us to better understand the potential underlying causes of a symptom, including a rare disease or genetic syndrome.

The heart is a part of the cardiovascular system of the body, also known as the circulatory system. It includes not only the heart but the veins, arteries, capillaries and blood which make the system work. The cardiovascular system distributes essential nutrients as well as oxygen, carbon dioxide, hormones and blood cells around the body in order to ensure its growth and survival.

Symptoms affecting the heart may be congenital, present at birth, or they may develop later in life. Often they will require surgery to correct them.

Symptoms relating to the heart may affect the structure of this crucial organ, and/or its function. They may also affect any of the other parts of the cardiovascular system, including the veins and arteries.

What is Patent ductus arteriosus?

Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) is a heart condition in which a fetal blood vessel, the ductus arteriosus, does not close as it should following birth. This in turn means that oxygenated blood is able to flow from the left heart to the lungs, from the aorta (which has a higher pressure) to the pulmonary artery. This can lead to an increase in the blood pressure in the baby’s lungs, while at the same time enlarging and weakening the heart.

PDA is usually found and confirmed within a few days of birth. It is more commonly found in infants born prematurely and those with other congenital heart defects.

Patent ductus arteriosus is corrected with a catheter procedure to close the ductus arteriosus. Sometimes this can be performed in an outpatient setting and may not require an overnight stay.

What should I do next?

In some instances patent ductus arteriosus may be one of the features of a rare disease or genetic syndrome. In this case fast, targeted genetic analysis can give you a more accurate diagnosis.

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