Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) closure

A baby does not need to use the lungs while growing in the uterus. Babies receive oxygenated blood from their mothers through the placenta.

The body of each baby in utero receives  oxygen-rich blood from the placenta it through a special blood vessel, called the ductus arteriosus.This blood vessel detours blood from going to the lungs, that are not being used before birth, 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 to full-term babies too.

The specialists at Norton Children’s Heart Institute perform PDA closures with surgery or less-invasive interventional cardiac catheterization, depending on your child’s particular condition. We have the pediatric cardiologists, interventional pediatric cardiologists, and pediatric cardiothoracic surgeons available to decide which treatment option will be best to address your child’s PDA.

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

The Society of Thoracic Surgeons has ranked Norton Children’s Heart Institute’s pediatric heart care among the best in the region. With our network of remote diagnostic and treatment services in Kentucky and Southern Indiana, your child can stay close to home for quality care.

 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 the actual PDA closure  is low. Babies with lung disease from prematurity and 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

No other congenital heart surgery program in Kentucky, Ohio or Southern Indiana is ranked higher by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons than the Norton Children’s Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery Program.

  • 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.
  • Our board-certified and fellowship-trained pediatric cardiovascular surgeons are leaders in the field as clinicians and researchers.
  • More than 5,000 children a year visit Norton Children’s Heart Institute, affiliated with the University of Louisville, for advanced heart care.
  • Norton Children’s Heart Institute successfully performs more than 17,500 procedures a year.
  • The Society of Thoracic Surgeons ranked Norton Children’s Heart Institute among the best in the region after studying years of our patients’ outcomes and our ability to handle a range of pediatric heart conditions, including the most severe.
  • Norton Children’s Heart Institute has satellite outpatient centers in Bowling Green, Frankfort, Owensboro and Paducah; 28 tele-echocardiography locations in Kentucky and Southern Indiana; and six fetal echocardiography locations across Kentucky.
  • The American Board of Thoracic Surgery has certified the cardiothoracic surgeons at Norton Children’s Hospital with subspecialty certification in congenital heart surgery.
  • The Jennifer Lawrence Cardiac Intensive Care Unit is under construction to give our patients the most advanced cardiac intensive care unit available.
  • Our multidisciplinary approach to pediatric heart surgery brings together our specialists in cardiothoracic surgery, cardiology, anesthesiology, cardiac critical care and other areas to create a complete care plan tailored for your child.


Heart – 2929

Contact Us

For more information on services or to schedule an appointment with the Norton Children’s Heart Institute:

(502) 629-2929

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