Ductus arteriosus

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Ductus arteriosus
Fetal circulation

System: Circulation
Arterial supply: Aorta
Venous drainage: Pulmonary artery
Lymphatic drainage:
Vertebral levels:
Search for Ductus arteriosus in Gray's.

The communication between the pulmonary artery and aorta that bypasses the pulmonary circulation in the foetus.



Formed from the left 6th aortic arch.

Patent Ductus Arteriosus

The ductus arteriosus normally closes within days of birth.

Prostaglandin E2 favours patency. If it remains patent, closure can be encourage with indometacin (via inhibition of prostanglandin synthesis). In premature infant care it has recently been shown that physiological doses of hydrocortisone to correct a borderline deficiency state as can be found in those suffering from bronchopulmonary dysplasia actually also encourages closure[1] .

With certain types of congenital heart disease (such as tricuspid atresia), the left-to-right shunting is beneficial and the ductus arteriosus can be iatrogenically kept open pharmacologically with prostaglandin analogues.

Clinical signs

Continuous murmur.


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