During fetal life, the ductus arteriosus is a normal and essential structure that connects the pulmonary artery to the distal aortic arch, permitting right ventricular ejection into the aorta. After birth, with commencement of pulmonary blood flow and a 2-ventricle circulation, a variety of physiological and biochemical signals normally result in complete closure of the ductus. Persistent patency of the ductus arteriosus may impair systemic cardiac output and result in deleterious effects on the cardiovascular system and lungs. Although surgery is still the treatment of choice for most premature infants with patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), transcatheter techniques have largely supplanted surgery for closure of PDA in children and adults. This article is a review of the PDA in term infants, children, and adults, with focus on the clinical manifestations and management.
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