Ductus arterious is a normal vascular connection between the pulmonary artery and aortic arch present in unborn babies. Its function is protection against the damage of the right ventricle due to high resistance in the lungs. Ductus arteriosus normally closes with the first inhale of air after the child is born. Sometimes it is fully closed within the day after the birth. In case that ductus arteriosus does not close within the defined period of time and it allows blood to flow the patient develops a medical condition called patient ductus arteriosus.
Patient ductus arteriosus results in a mixture between the oxygen-rich blood from the aorta and the blood that is poor in oxygen and originates from the pulmonary artery.
This medical condition is classified as congenital heart defect. In case that this opening does not close on its own a baby needs an operation as this is the only way to avoid further complications.
In the United States patient ductus arteriosus is rather common congenital heart condition. Premature babies are more susceptible to this heart defect. Still patient ductus arteriosus may affect full term babies as well.
Treatment of Patient Ductus Arteriosus
This medical condition is treated with medications, catheter based procedures and in most resistant cases with surgery. The basic goal of the treatment is to close the opening as soon as possible and this way prevent possible damage and further complications.
Small patient ductus arteriosus can close without any additional treatment. Large ones usually require treatment as they cause health problems. If a new born baby who is suffering from patient ductus arteriosus presents symptoms and signs connected to breathing difficulties or heart problems he/she needs to be treated immediately.
Surgery for Patient Ductus Arteriosus
Surgical repair and closure of ductus arteriosus is performed in babies who have developed certain problems due to this congenital defect. This approach is more successful comparing to catheter-based procedure.
The surgery is an excellent choice if a baby is suffering from additional heart malformations. Still the surgeons are not willing to perform the operation until the baby is six months old in case the baby does not present any signs and symptoms of the condition.
Complications of the surgical repair and closure of patient ductus arteriosus are rather rare. They include infections and bleeding and in extremely rare cases hoarseness and a paralysis of the diaphragm.
After the surgery the baby will be hospitalized for several more days and then discharged. The full recovery is expected within a couple of weeks after the surgical procedure.