Saturday, March 22 2003
Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA): The ductus arteriosus is a large artery that is present in a fetus but normally closes shortly after birth. The ductus arteriosus allows blood to bypass the lungs before a fetus is born since the fetus only gets its oxygen through the placenta. If the ductus does not close soon after birth, the heart is unable to get oxygen. PDA is a very serious birth defect that can lead to congenital heart failure. This heart defect can be treated with medicine. If that fails, surgery is needed.