If there are no other heart defects present, often the goal of treatment is to close the PDA. If the baby has certain other heart problems or defects, keeping the ductus arteriosus open may be lifesaving. Medicine may be used to stop it from closing.
Sometimes, a PDA may close on its own. In premature babies, it often closes within the first 2 years of life. In full-term infants, a PDA that remains open after the first several weeks rarely closes on its own.
When treatment is needed, medications such as indomethacin or ibuprofen are often the first choice. Medicines can work very well for some newborns, with few side effects. The earlier treatment is given, the more likely it is to succeed.
If these measures do not work or can't be used, the baby may need to have a medical procedure.
A transcatheter device closure is a procedure that uses a thin, hollow tube placed into a blood vessel. The doctor passes a small metal coil or other blocking device through the catheter to the site of the PDA. This blocks blood flow through the vessel. These coils can help the baby avoid surgery.
Surgery may be needed if the catheter procedure does not work or it cannot be used due to the baby’s size or other reasons. Surgery involves making a small cut between the ribs to repair the PDA.