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Pediatric cardiology - Patent Ductus Arteriosus

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) is an abnormal connection between the two major blood vessels leaving the heart-the pulmonary artery and the aorta. 

The pulmonary artery supplies blood to the lungs while the aorta supplies blood to the body. The ductus arteriosus is a normal structure in a baby's hear​​t that normally closes shortly after birth. 

​If the ductus arteriosus stays open, or "patent," the heart must work harder and more blood goes to the lungs and they may become congested. 

With this condition, children may tire quickly, catch pneumonia easily and breathe rapidly. Marshfield Clinic has full time pediatric cardiologists available to diagnose and treat patients with PDA.


A PDA may close on its own, without treatment. If it doesn't, treatment options include cardiac catheterization or surgery.

Cardiac catheterization
Cardiac catheterization is done on the heart using a thin, flexible tube called a catheter. The catheter is inserted into a blood vessel in the groin. With the help of live x-rays, the catheter is advanced up through the blood vessel until it reaches the heart. 

A coil or a closing device is used to close the PDA, and when the coil or closing device is delivered and placed in the PDA, the catheter is removed leaving the closing device in place.


  • Thoracotomy - an incision is made through the chest between the ribs under the left arm to reach the PDA.
  • Thoracoscopy - small incisions are made in the chest and a special scope with a camera on the end is inserted to guide the surgeon to the PDA, where the PDA is either clipped or tied off.​

Contact us for care

If this is a medical emergency, call 911.

Call: 1-866-520-2510

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What Do You Know About Birth Defects?

See how much you know about birth defects. Learn what you can do to lower your risk.

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