The ductus arteriosus is a short blood vessel that connects the two main arteries of the heart – the aorta and the pulmonary artery (see image).
Before a baby is born, the duct allows blood to bypass their lungs. After the baby is born and the lungs fill with air, the duct is no longer needed. It usually closes by itself within the first week after birth. Sometimes the duct does not close by itself and remains open (patent).
This small blood vessel causes too much blood into the lungs. It may only cause mild symptoms in young children (such as breathlessness); therefore, it’s not unusual for PDA to be diagnosed in older children, teenagers or even in adults. Usually, the only test that is needed to make the diagnosis is an echocardiogram (ultrasound scan of the heart).
There are two types of treatment for a PDA:
PDA closure in the heart catheterisation laboratory
You or your child will be given medicine to relax (sedation) during the procedure. The cardiologist will insert a thin, flexible tube (catheter) into a blood vessel in the groin. The catheter is then guided through the large blood vessel in the groin to the location of the PDA. The catheter is placed in the PDA.
Dye is then injected at this time to help the cardiologist put the catheter in the correct place. A closure device is attached to the catheter and then placed in the PDA. The closure device prevents the blood from flowing through the PDA. The device is released from the catheter once it is in the correct position. The catheter is removed and the procedure is finished.
You will need to take things easy over the next couple of days. There will be a small dressing over the site, and it is important to keep it clean and dry. The nurse on the ward will put a new dressing over the area on the day of discharge. There may be a small bruise, and the site may even be tender over the next couple of days. An ice pack may be useful, and your doctor may prescribe a mild pain killer.
You will need to take aspirin for six months after the procedure. Aspirin will help to prevent small blood clots from forming around the device. You will be given a prescription for aspirin before you are discharged home from the hospital.
You will need to take antibiotics before and after dental treatments for six months after the procedure. These drugs help prevent a heart infection called infectious endocarditis.
Your will receive an appointment for follow-up about 6 months after the procedure.