||This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (April 2013)
In the developing fetus, the ductus arteriosus (DA), also called the ductus Botalli, is a blood vessel connecting the pulmonary artery to the proximal descending aorta. It allows most of the blood from the right ventricle to bypass the fetus's fluid-filled non-functioning lungs. Upon closure at birth, it becomes the ligamentum arteriosum. There are two other fetal shunts, the ductus venosus and the foramen ovale.
Patent ductus arteriosus
Failure of a child's DA to close after birth results in a condition called patent ductus arteriosus and the generation of a left-to-right shunt. If left uncorrected, patency leads to pulmonary hypertension and possibly congestive heart failure and cardiac arrhythmias. Prostaglandins are responsible for maintaining the ductus arteriosus by dilation of the vascular smooth muscles. Closure may be induced with NSAIDs because these drugs inhibit prostaglandin synthesis.
A patent ductus arteriosus affects around 4% of infants with Down syndrome (DS). A failure to thrive is a very common sign of this condition.
This article uses anatomical terminology; for an overview, see anatomical terminology.
- ^ Pritchard & Korf. "Medical Genetics at a Glance". Blackwell Publishing. 2010. p63.