What are the symptoms of patent ductus arteriosus (PDA)?

Updated: Nov 20, 2018
  • Author: Luke K Kim, MD; Chief Editor: Stuart Berger, MD  more...
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Patients can present at any age. The typical child with a patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) is asymptomatic. At times, the patient may report decreased exercise tolerance or pulmonary congestion in conjunction with a murmur.

Three-week to 6-week-old infants can present with tachypnea, diaphoresis, inability or difficulty with feeding, and weight loss or no weight gain.

A ductus arteriosus with a moderate-to-large left-to-right shunt may be associated with a hoarse cry, cough, lower respiratory tract infections, atelectasis, or pneumonia. With large defects, the patient may have a history of feeding difficulties and poor growth during infancy, described as failure to thrive (FTT). However, frank symptoms of congestive heart failure (CHF) are rare.

Adults whose patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) has gone undiagnosed may present with signs and symptoms of heart failure, atrial arrhythmia, or even differential cyanosis limited to the lower extremities, indicating shunting of unoxygenated blood from the pulmonary to systemic circulation.

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