Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) Closure

The specialists at Norton Children’s Heart Institute, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, perform PDA closure with surgery or less invasive interventional cardiac catheterization, depending on the child’s particular condition. We have the pediatric cardiologists, interventional pediatric cardiologists and pediatric cardiothoracic surgeons available to decide which treatment option is best to address a child’s PDA.

A baby does not need to use the lungs while growing in the uterus. The baby receives oxygen-rich blood from the placenta through a special blood vessel, called the ductus arteriosus. This blood vessel detours blood from going to the lungs and instead to the body.

When the baby is born, the first noisy breaths start the process of closing the ductus arteriosus. With the lungs now working and being used for oxygenation, the vessel should close on its own shortly after birth. If it doesn’t close, the condition is called patent ductus arteriosus (PDA).

This ductus arteriosus stays open more often in premature babies, but the condition can happen in full-term babies too.

Norton Children’s Heart Institute is the leading provider of pediatric heart care in Louisville and Southern Indiana.

Norton Children’s has a network of outreach diagnostic and treatment services conveniently located throughout Kentucky and Southern Indiana.

What Happens During a PDA Closure?

If the Norton Children’s Heart Institute specialists decide a PDA closure by heart catheterization the best thing for your child, then our specialty team will have everything available to address your child’s needs at Norton children’s Hospital.

  • If your child needs to be sedated (asleep), a specially trained pediatric cardiac anesthesiologist will administer the anesthesia.
  • An interventional cardiologist will place a catheter — a long, thin tube — into a large blood vessel. The catheter will then be threaded into the heart.
  • The interventional cardiologist can take picture (called an angiogram) of the PDA and other structures of the heart if needed.
  • If the PDA is small, the interventional cardiologist may use a plug-shaped device to occlude the vessel.
  • If the PDA is too big, your child may require surgery if the PDA catheterization closure is unsuccessful.

If the Norton Children’s Heart Institute specialists decide your child’s PDA needs to be closed by surgery:

  • Your child will need to be sedated (asleep). A specially trained pediatric cardiac anesthesiologist will administer the anesthesia.
  • A pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon will make a small incision (cut) between the ribs on the left side of your child’s chest.
  • The surgeon will then close the PDA by tying off each end of the vessel and dividing it by cutting it between the two ends that were tied off.

PDA Closure Complications and After Care

The risk of complications associated with PDA closure is low. Babies with lung disease from prematurity and those on ventilators prior to surgery may have a complicated recovery related more to their lung disease than the actual operation.

Why Choose Norton Children’s Heart Institute

The Adult Congenital Heart Association has recognized Norton Children's Heart Institute for its expertise treating adult congenital heart disease.

  • Norton Children’s Hospital has been a pioneer in pediatric cardiothoracic surgery, performing Kentucky’s first pediatric heart transplant in 1986 and becoming the second site in the United States to perform an infant heart transplant.
  • The American Board of Thoracic Surgery has certified our cardiothoracic surgeons in congenital heart surgery.
  • The Adult Congenital Heart Association has accredited Norton Children’s Heart Institute’s Adult Congenital Heart Program as the only comprehensive care center in Kentucky and Indiana treating adults born with a heart defect.
  • More than 5,000 children a year visit Norton Children’s Heart Institute for advanced heart care.
  • Norton Children’s Heart Institute has offices across Kentucky and Southern Indiana to bring quality pediatric heart care closer to home.
  • The Jennifer Lawrence Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) at Norton Children’s Hospital is the largest dedicated CICU in Kentucky, equipped with 17 private rooms and the newest technology available for heart care.
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