Who is at Risk of Patent Ductus Arteriosus?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jul 26, 2011
Quick Bites

  • PDA occurs more commonly in babies who are born too early.
  • Babies with congenital heart defects are more likely to have PDA.
  • If you have a family history of heart defects, your child may have PDA.
  • Rubella infection while pregnant can increase the risk of heart defects.

Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) is a condition in which the ductus arteriosus does not close. Before birth, the ductus arteriosus blood vessel allows blood to go around the baby's lungs. Soon after birth, the lungs fill with air, and ductus arteriosus is no longer needed and usually closes within a couple of days. If the blood vessel doesn't close, it is referred to as a PDA. The word "patent" means open.

Who is at risk from Patent Ductus Arteriosus?

Infants exposed to certain medical conditions during pregnancy or at the time of delivery may be at a risk of having a patent ductus arteriosus. These medical conditions include:

Premature Delivery- babies who are born too early than the babies who are born full term are at a higher risk of developing patent ductus arteriosus (PDA.

Risk of Patent Ductus Arteriosus

Heart Defects- Congenital heart defects and other heart problems when they're born are also more likely to give a baby patent ductus arteriosus.

Genetic Conditions- If the parents of the baby have a family history of heart defects, it's more likely that their child may have a patent ductus arteriosus. Other genetic conditions, such as Down syndrome, also have been linked to an enhanced chance of having a PDA.

Rubella Infection- A pregnant woman infected with rubella (German measles) can increase the risk of heart defects in the baby. The rubella virus crosses the placenta and spreads through the baby's circulatory system damaging blood vessels and organs, including the heart.

Gender- Girls are at a much greater risk of developing patent ductus arteriosus as compared to boys.

Altitude of the Delivery Place- Babies born above 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) have a greater risk of a PDA than babies born at lower altitudes.

PDA is usually diagnosed by the health care provider who examines your infant. Breathing and feeding problems in an infant can sometimes be due to a PDA that has not been diagnosed. If you notice anything wrong with your baby’s breathing, contact your doctor.

Image: Getty

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