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PDA- Patent Ductus Arteriosus

The baby in the womb has a circulation system that changes when the first breath is taken after birth. In the womb the lungs have no work to do, the mothers supplies all the baby needs through the placenta, so the baby’s blood circulation bypasses them. The Ductus Arteriosus is part of this foetal structure. It is a small shunt that joins the Pulmonary artery (the artery that takes the blood to the lungs) and the Aorta (The main artery in the body that delivers oxygen rich blood to all parts of the body. This duct allows the blood to bypass circulation to the lungs before birth. The high levels of oxygen which the heart is exposed to after birth causes it to constrict and close in the majority of babies within the first 24 hours of life.

Failure of the duct to close within 24 hours is referred to as a Patent Ductus Arteriosus or PDA. A PDA allows the blood to flow between the aorta and the pulmonary artery. This leads to an increase in the flow of blood to the lungs. For the baby trying to learn to breathe the extra blood can cause major problems. The baby will have to work harder to breathe, the heart will have to work harder to try to compensate for the blood lost to the lungs.

The first plan of attack will be with medication given to the baby. In the majority of cases this will be enough to close the PDA and stop the baby’s problems.

INDOCID P.D.A. is used in premature babies, usually weighing between 500 to 1750g, to close the patent ductus arteriosus, when after 48 hours of usual medical management has not been effective. INDOCID P.D.A. belongs to a group of medicines called Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs). If after two courses of this medication, the PDA remains open, medical staff may opt to close the PDA surgically.

This is a fairly simple procedure, where the PDA is then ligated closed and complications are very minimal. Please seek Medical advice from your Doctor if you have any concerns.

The primary aim of PIPA is to provide practical and emotional support to the parents and families of premature infants. However we do not offer professional advice. We are parents of preterm baby’s and not medical staff. We do offer understanding, support, encouragement and friendship.

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