Patent Ductus Arteriosus

Congenital Heart Disease

I was born with Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) contrary to its abbreviation (public display of affection) I do not deliberately show off my emotions but it does affect it lol. Anyway to explain further on my own words, this type of heart disease is usually found in new born babies. To define each word of it would be Patent - open, Ductus Arteriosus -Blood Vessel. This open blood vessel is always open when the fetus is inside the womb. This however should close in a couple of day upon birth.

Unfortunately for me it was only discovered when I was 7 years old. Why, well let's just say we used to live in a rural area that having a telephone is a major electronic wonder. Although at age 5 we moved to Dubai, UAE and that's where we all got our healthcare benefits organized, still it took another 2 years to find out about it.

The way I remember it, I was sick for like over a month with the flu, bad cough, temperature and all. My parents have brought me from one doctor to another when finally an Iranian doctor said he could hear murmurs while i breathed. After a lot of tests it was confirmed that I indeed have a heart disease and that I needed a major heart operation.

My parents decided to go back home to the Philippines because we did have a Heart Center. After a chest x-ray and an ecg it was indeed concluded I had PDA. As I recall my Pediatric-Cardiologist said I will not have the surgery right away I don't exactly know why until now. I read it wasn't usually needed right away if the baby has other complications which leaving it open might be helpful at the moment. Still I was already 7 years old. I guess I probably had a lot of complications.

Years past before my doctor decided I can no longer go on without having the surgery. I was 15 years old when I did it; but the 8 years I waited was excruciatingly difficult. I was always sick, like always. Whether it was a cold, a cough, a fever, occasional bronchitis etc. I was not really allowed to go out much because the fear of getting exposed to viruses or bacteria. In short it was hard!

Now that I am a mother and the trauma of being a sick child just bothers me all the time especially when it comes to my kids being sick. Every time I was pregnant I would always tell my doctor that I had PDA and that my baby should be tested always. I am a lucky mother, having 3 boys and all healthy with no trace of any kind of health problems. I guess I was just the one who had to deal with a lot of health issues. Still lucky I am alive.

How to detect PDA?

  1. Make sure you bring your baby to their follow-up check up after delivery.
  2. Check if your baby seems like have short breathes when crying.
  3. Make sure your baby's monthly check-ups are followed accordingly.

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