What is the role of prematurity in the etiology of patent ductus arteriosus (PDA)?

Updated: Nov 20, 2018
  • Author: Luke K Kim, MD; Chief Editor: Stuart Berger, MD  more...
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Answer

Prematurity or immaturity of the infant at the time of delivery contributes to the patency of the ductus. Several factors are involved, including immaturity of the smooth muscle within the structure or the inability of the immature lungs to clear the circulating prostaglandins that remain from gestation. These mechanisms are not fully understood. Conditions that contribute to low oxygen tension in the blood, such as immature lungs, coexisting congenital heart defects, and high altitude, are associated with persistent patency of the ductus.


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