Newswise — In a new video posted today, Cedars-Sinai heart expert Evan Zahn, MD, explains a new treatment for babies born with patent ductus arteriosus, a “hole in the heart,” the most common structural heart defect in newborns. The video is available for streaming and downloading here.
Zahn is director of the Guerin Family Congenital Heart Program in the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute. He developed the new minimally invasive technique to mend the condition without subjecting tiny patients to the risks of open-heart surgery.
Patent ductus arteriosus is a condition in which a blood vessel called the ductus arteriosus, which routes blood around the baby’s lungs prior to birth, does not close naturally as it should within a couple of days after birth. If untreated, the opening can lead to abnormal blood flow and cause a range of symptoms, heart failure and lifelong complications. It can result in brain hemorrhage and death in premature infants.
In the video, Zahn explains how he uses ultrasound technology to guide a tiny catheter through a baby’s artery and deliver a small plug that closes the hole in the heart. A recent study by Zahn, published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Catheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions, showed that the new procedure carries less risk than open-heart surgery and doesn’t expose PDA babies to the side effects – including kidney failure – of medication used to treat the condition.