Sunday, June 11, 2017

Ductus Arteriosus : Review of Key Points

Hi everyone ! Just a short review on Ductus Arteriosus.

- Ductus Arteriosus is basically a communication between the Pulmonary trunk and the Systemic Aorta.
- This communication is between pulmonary trunk and the end of Arch of aorta. Just after the Brachiocephalic trunk , and Left Common carotid and Subclavian have branched off.
- In embryonic life this communication helps transport blood from RV- Pulmonary artery to the Systemic circulation.

So ,
Remember :
Prostaglandins Persist

-Prostaglandins, especially PGE1 , act on the Ductal muscle tissue and keep it Open.
-So the Ductus arteriosus stays open.

-This is important in certain Duct dependent lesions
- Duct dependent heart lesions are those which need the presence of an Open ductus to receive blood in systemic / Pulmonary circulation.

- For example -->
✓ Duct dependent lesions for Systemic Circulation are those that cause obstruction to the Left side heart to pump blood into the aorta. These include :

- Coarctation of Aorta ( especially pre Ductal ) : Here there is a constriction of the aorta just before the ductus Arteriosus. So , a persistent Ductus would transport blood from pulmonary circulation into the systemic. 
If ductus gets closed , there would be minimal blood flow to the Lower limbs and abdomen.

- Critical Aortic stenosis.
- Left side Hypoplastic heart.


✓ Duct dependent lesions for pulmonary circulation
-These are lesions where pulmonary blood flow would be severely reduced due to some RV- Outflow tract Abnormality and the only source to the lungs would be through the ductus shunting some blood from aorta into the pulmonary vein.

- These include : 

- Critical Pulmonary Stenosis
- Hypoplastic Right heart syndrome
- Tetrology of Fallot
- Tricuspid Atresia
- Ebstein Anomaly

Another important disease is Transposition of the great vessels where this sort of corrects the defect.

So. We've seen in what conditions we'd like to keep the Ductus Arteriosus open / persistent.
Normally this Ductus closes functionally within 24 hours of birth. And anatomically between 10 and 14 days post natally.

If this persists on its own for a long time it causes a Congenital Heart Disease called Patent Ductus Arteriosus.
This defect is characterised by shunting of blood into the pulmonary trunk constantly during systole and diastole causing a Continuous murmur.

To close this ductus , we could try using Indomethacin / Ibuprofen especially in preterm children.
These drugs inhibit Prostaglandin synthesis , thus causing Ductus Smooth muscle to constrict and eventually close.

So that's all about the ductus !

Happy studying !
And Stay Awesome !

~ A.P.Burkholderia


  1. Thanks a lot. I was about to ask for this post.Now I understood the basics.Thanks a lot:)


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