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Is Patent Ductus Arteriosus A Serious Condition & Can It Be Reversed?

A non-complicated small patent duct arteriosus generally doesn’t cause problems and resolves on its own without requiring treatment.1

The conditions left untreated can result in the inappropriate flowing of poorly oxygenated blood leading to heart failure and other serious complications.2

Reverse patent ductus arteriosus is rarely diagnosed as congenital heart disease and the continuous murmur is no longer heard.3,4

Is Patent Ductus Arteriosus A Serious Condition?

A small patent ductus arteriosus usually causes no signs and symptoms. It closes on its own 1-2 days after birth. But some patients can experience symptoms that include

  • Cyanosis (a bluish cast to the skin and mucous membranes)
  • persistent exhaustion that is continuous and constraining.
  • An irregular heartbeat that makes the heart pump too fast or too hard
  • Fast beating or pounding heart
  • Dyspnea (an uncomfortable condition or shortness of breath).1

When the infant doesn’t experience symptoms, they may never need treatment. However larger patent ductus arteriosus when left untreated can force the poorly oxygenated blood to flow in the incorrect passage causing weakening of the heart muscles and cardiac stroke. Sometimes it may also result in heart failure.

Patent ductus arteriosus is one of the most common congenital disorders diagnosed and treated in infants however they are relatively rare among adults. Most cases of PDA noticed in adults are small to moderate. But in usual cases, they are quite large. Untreated conditions pose a high risk of bacterial endocarditis (bacterial infection of the inner layer of the heart or the heart valves), Cardiomyopathy (a progressive disease of the myocardium that makes it harder for your heart to pump blood to the rest of your body), and congestive heart failure.2

Can Patent Ductus Arteriosus Be Reversed?

The primary aim of treating patent ductus arteriosus is to stop the blood flowing through the shunt. The cardiovascular surgeon will suggest optimal treatment for this condition. A medical study was conducted on twelve cases with varied physiologic and clinical features with reversal flow characteristics. These patients suffered pulmonary arterial hypertension that caused the shunting of pure oxygenated plasma from the pulmonary artery to the aorta.

The condition was diagnosed through angiocardiography and cardiac catechization which showed the non-existing defects and provide substantial information on the ligation of the ductus. As a result, these patients become neurologic with seizures, fatigue, heart palpitations, and trembling. There are also possible risks of congestive heart failure.

There is no cure nor surgical treatment for reversing patent ductus arteriosus and the degree of reducing the shunting is nearly 60-65%.

However, through proper monitoring, medications, and surgery the condition can be treated to reduce the loud murmur sound and irregular heartbeat. The experienced cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons examine and treat patients to minimize/prevent complications of congenital heart diseases and help patients live healthier and longer lives.

However, medical studies demonstrate that cardiac rehabilitation is the most vital factor of recovery and prevent future cardiac vascular complications.3,4

Patent ductus arteriosus is the sixth most common congenital heart defect diagnosed in almost 10 percent of infants born with cardiovascular problems. Normally the patent ductus closes after 15 hours of birth and latest in the first year of the baby.

However, in some cases, the ductus remains open causing blood flowing in the wrong direction leading to various heart complications. Unclosed patent ductus arteriosus can cause loud murmurs due to ventricles getting strained that can result in high blood pressure in the lungs (pulmonary hypertension).


  1. “Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA).” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 25 Jan. 2018, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/patent-ductus-arteriosus/symptoms-causes/syc-20376145.
  2. “Learning About Severe Patent Ductus Arteriosus in Newborns.” MyHealth.Alberta.ca Government of Alberta Personal Health Portal, myhealth.alberta.ca/Health/aftercareinformation/pages/conditions.aspx?hwid=abp8859.
  3. Arora, M. “Reversed Patent Ductus Arteriosus in a Dog.” The Canadian Veterinary Journal = La Revue Veterinaire Canadienne, U.S. National Library of Medicine, June 2001, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1476556/.
  4. Anderson, Ray C., et al. “PATENT DUCTUS ARTERIOSUS WITH REVERSAL OF FLOW.” American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Pediatrics, 1 Sept. 1956, pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/18/3/410.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:November 10, 2020

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