Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) Tests & Treatments | MedStar Health

A congenital heart defect that affects blood flow between the two major heart arteries

Normally, after birth, a blood vessel called the ductus arteriosus closes and the lungs fill with oxygen. Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) causes this blood vessel to remain open and allows deoxygenated and oxygenated blood to mix in the aorta. An open ductus arteriosus can stress the heart and lungs and may cause high blood pressure or pulmonary hypertension.

Often diagnosed and treated during infancy, patients are likely to live normal lives with follow-up care through adulthood. Our adult congenital heart center provides expert care for the complex and unique challenges facing adult congenital heart patients. Our team includes specialists from across disciplines to provide innovative treatments for conditions such as PDA.


Diagnosing a potential heart or vascular condition is the first step to developing a treatment plan. Our specialists may recommend one or more diagnostic and imaging procedures.

Cardiac catheterization

Cardiac catheterization is a minimally invasive way to diagnose and treat a variety of heart and vascular conditions by guiding thin, flexible tubes called catheters through blood vessels to problem areas.

Chest x-ray

Chest x-rays use a small dose of radiation to create pictures of the structures inside the chest, including the lungs, heart and chest wall.

Computerized tomography (CT) scan

The cardiac computed tomography scan, or cardiac CT, uses X-rays to create three-dimensional images of your heart and blood vessels.


An echocardiogram uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of your heart.

Electrocardiogram (ECG)

An electrocardiogram, also known as an ECG, measures the heart’s electrical activity.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Magnetic resonance imaging, better known as cardiac MRI, is a combination of radio waves, magnets, and computer technology used  to create images of your heart and blood vessels.

Stress tests

Stress tests are used to assess how your heart works during physical activity. There are several types of stress tests, including treadmill or bike stress tests, nuclear stress tests, stress echocardiograms, and chemically induced stress tests.


Our heart and vascular teams work together and with other specialties to develop and implement individualized plans to treat a wide variety of conditions. This could include lifestyle modifications, medication, or more advanced treatments.

Cardiac implant closure device

Cardiac implant closure devices are used to repair defects that allow blood to flow through a hole connecting the chambers of the heart.

Heart surgery

Heart surgery is an option to treat many heart conditions. You may need heart surgery as a lifesaving procedure or when other treatments haven’t worked.

Additional information

Adult congenital heart center

When you’re born with a heart problem, you may need complex care throughout your life. Our experts tailor this specialized care to your unique needs.

Ask MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute

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