The Patent Ductus Arteriosus
Observations from 412 Surgically Treated Cases
A patent ductus arteriosus can be recognized with a high degree of accuracy by auscultation and simple office examination. Electrocardiographic and fluoroscopic studies are helpful, but it is rarely necessary to employ more elaborate and expensive forms of investigation. While the condition seldom causes serious incapacitation in early life, it is apt to be accompanied by a very high percentage of serious complications in later life. These facts give strong backing to the conviction that it is desirable to operate upon all children possessing a patent ductus—even though they are asymptomatic at the time—because it is technically much easier to perform a surgical closure of the vessel in this period. Ligation or suture-ligation is successful in a high proportion of cases, but a complete division of the vessel is the ideal method of therapy. In a consecutive series of 369 cases of division there have been no deaths from hemorrhage. The total mortality rate has been 2.1 per cent. For patients who had no complications prior to surgery, the mortality rate was under one-half of one per cent.
- © 1951 American Heart Association, Inc.