The ductus venosus is open at the time of the birth and is the reason why umbilical vein catheterization works. Ductus venosus naturally closes during the first week of life in most full-term neonates; however, it may take much longer to close in pre-term neonates. Functional closure occurs within minutes of birth. Structural closure in term babies occurs within 3 to 7 days.
If the ductus venosus fails to occlude after birth, the individual is said to have an intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (PSS). This condition is hereditary in some dog breeds (e.g. Irish Wolfhound). The ductus venosus shows a delayed closure in preterm infants, with no significant correlation to the closure of the ductus arteriosus or the condition of the infant. Possibly, increased levels of dilating prostaglandins leads to a delayed occlusion of the vessel.