Every baby is born with a ductus arteriosus -- a blood vessel that connects the aorta and pulmonary artery. Because it is not needed after birth, the blood vessel usually closes on its own within the first few days of life. If it doesn’t close, the condition is called a patent ductus arteriosus (PDA). PDA can strain the heart and increase blood pressure in the lungs. Duke pediatric cardiologists and surgeons are experts in diagnosing and treating patent ductus arteriosus safely and effectively. Our pediatric heart program is ranked the best in North Carolina in part because we have the expertise and advanced treatment techniques that are only available at highly qualified hospitals like Duke.