arterial duct -->
ductus arteriosus
medical dictionary

Before birth, the blood headed from the heart (via the pulmonary artery) for the lungs is shunted away from the lungs and returned to the greatest of arteries (the aorta). The shunt is through a short vessel called the ductus arteriosus. When the shunt is open, it is said to be patent (pronounced pa'tent). The patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) usually closes at or shortly after birth and blood is permtted from that moment on to course freely to the lungs. If the ductus stays open (patent), flow reverses and blood from the aorta is shunted into the pulmonary artery and recirculated through the lungs. The PDA may close later spontaneously (on its own) or need to be ligated (tied off) surgically.

(12 Dec 1998)