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Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)

Bringing your new baby home is supposed to be a happy moment. But if you find out your child has heart issues, you might be more worried than excited.

Babies are born with a blood vessel (ductus arteriosus) that’s supposed to close soon after birth. Sometimes it doesn’t, so blood doesn’t flow through your baby’s heart like it should. This is called patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) — and it can affect how well they breathe, eat and grow.

Chances are, you probably have many questions if you think your child has this condition. Can it be fixed? How serious is it? Will my newborn be OK? Cleveland Clinic Children’s has the answers you need. Our experts diagnose and treat even the most complex pediatric heart diseases, providing exceptional care with a gentle, compassionate touch. We’ll figure out how severe your baby’s PDA is and work with you to get them on the path to a healthier heart and an active childhood.

Why Choose Cleveland Clinic Children’s for Patent Ductus Arteriosus Care?

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Comprehensive treatment:

Many babies with patent ductus arteriosus are premature and may be born with other heart disorders. Our world-renowned pediatric cardiac (heart) surgeons and experienced neonatal (newborn) specialists will work together to help your child. Meet our team.

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Caring approach:

Our team understands the unique emotional needs of babies and children. That’s why we focus on your baby’s comfort every step of the way. Each team member specializes in giving compassionate, tender care to our tiniest patients.

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Minimally invasive options:

Some babies with PDA may need surgery to close the blood vessel. Our specialists can often do this with a minimally invasive procedure that requires only a small incision (cut) in your baby’s leg. With this method, your baby can have a faster, easier recovery.

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Virtual visits:

Not all Cleveland Clinic Children's visits need to be in-person — which can be convenient when you have a newborn. For some appointments, you can meet one-on-one with your providers online with a virtual visit. All you need is an internet connection and a smartphone, computer or tablet.

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National recognition:

Cleveland Clinic Children’s is a trusted healthcare leader. We’re recognized throughout the U.S. for our expertise and care.

PDA Diagnosis at Cleveland Clinic Children’s

Soon after birth (and also during regular checkups), we’ll listen to your baby’s heart and lungs with a stethoscope. Babies with PDA often have a heart murmur, which sounds like whooshing or swishing. If your baby has a murmur, your providers may run some tests to diagnose or rule out other health problems. These tests may include:

Chest X-ray

A chest X-ray can help us see signs of PDA, like extra blood flow in your baby’s lungs. It can also diagnose or rule out heart disorders your baby was born with or lung problems, like pneumonia.


When we do an echocardiogram, we’ll use ultrasound to get a better look at how your child’s heart has developed and works. This test can help their care team diagnose PDA or other heart problems.

Electrocardiogram (EKG)

If your baby has an electrocardiogram, our team will put electrodes (stickers with wires) on their chest. The electrodes connect to a machine that records their heart’s electrical activity and rhythm. It can diagnose arrhythmias (heart rhythm problems) and other issues.

Meet Our Patent Ductus Arteriosus Care Team

A skilled team of providers will care for your child and help diagnose and treat their PDA. This team could include:


We offer treatment for Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) at the following locations in Northeast Ohio.

PDA Treatment at Cleveland Clinic Children’s

Once we know for sure that your baby has patent ductus arteriosus, we’ll work with you to design a personalized treatment plan. The plan will be based on their test results and your baby’s age, weight and health. There are several different things we can do.

Watchful waiting

Mild or small PDA often gets better on its own within a few months and doesn’t need treatment. In these cases, your baby’s healthcare providers will keep an eye on their health and symptoms. If your baby needs further care, we’ll guide you through the next steps.


If your baby’s symptoms interfere with their growth or well-being, they may need medications. Our providers may prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for premature babies, which can help the ductus arteriosus to close on its own.

Minimally invasive treatment

In more severe cases of PDA, our pediatric cardiologists (heart specialists) will do a cardiac catheterization. This can close the ductus arteriosus. Usually, we do this procedure on full-term babies and older children. During the closure procedure for PDA, our team will:

  • Insert a catheter (thin, flexible tube) into a blood vessel in your baby’s groin. The catheter has a tiny coil or plug on the end.
  • Guide the catheter through the blood vessel to your baby’s heart.
  • Place the plug or coil in the ductus arteriosus, closing it off.
  • Remove the catheter from the groin and close the small incision with stitches (sutures).


Sometimes less invasive treatments aren’t an option. Then, our pediatric heart surgeons will do surgery to close the ductus arteriosus. During PDA surgery, we’ll make an incision in your baby’s chest to close the open blood vessel with sutures or a special clip. After surgery, your baby’s PDA symptoms should quickly go away.

Medications after surgery

After a cardiac catheterization or PDA surgery, your baby or child will need to take antibiotics if they’re going to the dentist within 6 months of the procedure. This will prevent their heart from getting infected.

Taking the Next Step

Finding out your baby has a heart condition that might need surgery can be stressful — and leave you wondering what’s next. At Cleveland Clinic Children’s, our skilled and compassionate providers know what it takes to fix your baby’s patent ductus arteriosus so they can keep growing and live an active, healthy life. We’re here for them (and your family) every step of the way.

Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic Children’s patent ductus arteriosus experts is easy. We’ll help your child get care.


Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic Children’s patent ductus arteriosus experts is easy. We’ll help your child get care.

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