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Patent Ductus Arteriosus Ligation In Newborns


Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) ligation is surgery to close the opening between your baby's aorta and pulmonary artery.


Before your newborn's surgery:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that your baby may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your baby's medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done to your baby. Make sure all of your questions are answered.
  • An IV is a small tube placed in your baby's vein. Healthcare providers use the IV to give your baby medicine or liquids.
  • Blood tests are done to show how your baby's body is doing and if he is ready for surgery. Your baby may need to have blood drawn more than once.
  • A chest x-ray is a picture of your baby's lungs and heart. It can show if heart chambers, pulmonary arteries, or aorta are larger than they should be.
  • An echocardiogram uses sound waves to show pictures of the size and shape of your baby's heart. This test can show how well your baby's heart is pumping. It can also find heart problems, such as fluid around the heart and heart valve problems.
  • An EKG records the electrical activity of your baby's heart. It is used to check for problems caused by the size of your baby's heart.
  • A ventilator is a breathing machine that may be used to help your baby breathe during surgery. An endotracheal tube (ET tube) is placed in his throat. The ET tube is hooked to the ventilator.
  • General anesthesia is medicine to keep your baby asleep and free from pain during the surgery. Your baby may be given anesthesia through his IV, a mask, or a tube placed down his throat.

During your newborn's surgery:

An incision is made between 2 ribs on the left side of your baby's chest. Stitches or tiny metal clips are used to close the PDA. The incision in your baby's chest is closed with medical glue, stitches, or medical tape.

After your newborn's surgery:

Your baby will be taken to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Healthcare providers will watch your baby very closely. Some of the same tests that were done before surgery may be also done after surgery. These will help healthcare providers to know how well your baby is doing.

  • Bandages are used to keep your baby's incision clean and dry to prevent infection. A healthcare provider may remove the bandage shortly after surgery to check the incision.
  • Chest tubes may be put into your baby's chest during surgery. Chest tubes remove air, blood, or fluid from around the lungs.
  • Medicines:
    • Antibiotics help your baby's body fight infection.
    • Heart medicine helps your baby's heart beat regularly.
    • Diuretics help your baby's body get rid of extra fluid.
    • Pain medicine helps decrease pain.


Your baby may bleed more than expected or get an infection. Your baby's vocal cords may become paralyzed. Your baby may get a pneumothorax. This happens when air gets inside the space between his lungs and chest wall. This may be life-threatening. Without surgery, your baby's symptoms may get worse. The pressure in his lungs may increase. He may develop serious health problems, such as a heart infection or congestive heart failure. These health problems can be life-threatening.


You have the right to help plan your baby's care. To help with this plan, you must learn about PDA and the surgery. You can then discuss choices with your baby's healthcare providers. Work with them to decide what choices may be best for your baby.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.