Patent Ductus Arteriosus: Page 4 of 4

Treatment and Prognosis

If left uncorrected, the majority of dogs with a PDA will develop congestive heart failure and die from their disease by 12 - 18 months of age. With proper recognition and treatment, however, dogs with an uncomplicated PDA that is corrected typically live a normal lifespan.

Treatment of a left-to-right PDA involves closure of the defect via surgery or a catheter-based approach. Most pets with this condition are candidates for interventional occlusion of the defect. This is a minimally invasive procedure that involves anesthetizing the patient and placing a catheter into the femoral artery, a blood vessel within the leg. Through use of a real-time X-ray technique called fluoroscopy, an occluding device is advanced from the femoral artery and into the PDA, blocking flow through the PDA. Such a procedure allows for rapid recovery, a short hospital stay, and is minimally invasive in that only a small surgical incision in the leg is required.

If your pet is too small or the defect is of a shape not amenable to interventional repair, surgical closure can be performed. This involves making an incision in the chest and direct ligation of the defect with a suture. Although this is considered open-chest surgery, it does not involve open heart techniques. The success rate of a surgical procedure compared to an interventional one is considered equal. 

Typically, a recheck evaluation is performed two - four weeks following the closure of the PDA. Follow-up evaluations performed thereafter are dependent upon the severity of the PDA and the success of closure; however, in many patients they are not required.