Patent Ductus Arteriosus

This is an extra blood vessel that is a normal part of the fetal circulation.  Every baby has this blood vessel prior to birth and it's purpose is to shunt blood away from the lungs.  When a baby is born and his lungs fill with air, this blood vessel starts to close.  The "PDA" commonly closes in the first 24-48 hours of life.  In some cases, it may remain open for a longer period, or may remain open permanently.