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Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) is a heart disorder first diagnosed or observed during the first few weeks or months of the surgery. This condition is characterized by the persistence of a normal fetal connection between the pulmonary artery and the aorta, which may allow the flow of some of the oxygenated blood back to the lungs instead of the body.

This connection is naturally present in the fetus during pregnancy. It is, in fact, present at the time of birth as well But it closes off on its own within a few days.

During pregnancy, all of the oxygen demand of the fetus is met through the placenta. Therefore, there is no need for the blood to go through the lungs for oxygenation. However, a connection is necessary to let oxygenated blood bypass the lungs of the fetus and reach the body. This connection is known as ductus arteriosus (DA).

As soon as the baby is born, the lungs take over the functioning of the connection and start purifying the blood. The problem arises when the connection does not close on its own within a few days after the birth. This condition is known as PDA.

The exact reason why DA remains open (patent) is some infants is still unknown. However, girls are twice as likely to suffer from PDA as boys. Additionally, PDA may occur in combination with other heart defects as well.

PDA, if left untreated, may lead to a number of complications. Because of the flow of oxygenated blood from the aorta to the pulmonary artery and the mixing of blood, the vessels of the lungs have to handle a large amount of blood. The larger the volume of blood that enters the pulmonary artery, the greater they have to cope with the increased pressure. This may lead to long-term damage to the lungs.

PDA may cause no symptoms at all in some children. However, the following are some of the symptoms experienced by a majority of children with PDA:

  • Heavy, congested, or rapid breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Sweating
  • Poor weight gain
  • No interest in feeding
  • Excessive tiredness while feeding

PDA closure is performed under the influence of general anaesthetic (GA) using the heart catheterization procedure. During the closure, the surgeon places a closure device into the catheter.

A typical PDA closure device is made up of mesh and metal material. It is a short tube with discs of different sizes in both its ends. The device is folder before its insertion into the catheter. The device is moved out of the catheter upon reaching the right place. One of the appropriate discs opens up when the device is moved out of the catheter. It’s acts like a plug and seals off the PDA, stopping the flow of oxygenated blood to the pulmonary artery.

The catheter is usually inserted into a blood vessel in the groin region. The catheter is gently moved up to reach the site of PDA. The closure device is threaded through to reach the PDA site and is placed in the targeted position. Once the device is in place, the catheter is withdrawn and the site of catheter insertion is bandaged.

The procedure takes anywhere from one to three hours to complete. As soon as the procedure is over, the child is transferred to the recovery room and is kept there as long as the effect of the GA fades off. Most of the children are discharged on the same day as that of PDA closure procedure. However, they will be required to stay in the hospital for at least four to six hours after the surgery.

Some children, however, will be required to stay in the hospital overnight. They are transferred to the inpatient unit after the effect of the GA is over. A chest X-ray is conducted the next day in the case of all patients to check the position of the closure device. Children who are discharged on the same day of the procedure must be brought to the hospital again in the next morning for the X-ray.

The surgeon may prescribe a few antibiotics after the surgery to prevent heart infection known as infectious endocarditis. It is common for premature infants or infants with larger PDA to become tired feeding. Therefore, care must be taken to high-calorie formula or breast milk to them for normal growth and development.

Frequently Asked Questions

Like most countries, hospitals in South Africa are based upon public and private healthcare systems. There are three main levels of healthcare based upon the payment method of the patient.
  • The full paying patients are those who usually prefer to be treated by a doctor working in the private sector. They can also be funded by an external source. Many non-South African citizens also prefer this treatment service.
  • Fully subsidized patients are those who have been referred from a Primary Healthcare Service Hospital.
  • Partially subsidized patients are patients whose costs are subsidized based on the amount of their income.
The public healthcare system has three main centers for health under its wing:
  • Clinics - These are run by trained professionals and nurses. They can serve as the first point of contact for a patient.
  • Community Healthcare Centre - This is a bigger setup, complete with full-fledged services and doctors and nurses.
  • Hospital - A patient usually gets here after a referral from a clinic or community health center. One can also go in for emergencies. A hospital provides various services like performing surgery and treating chronic illnesses.
Hospitals in South Africa are gearing up to tackle major illnesses and to provide better treatment options. The South African government is also working to introduce policies and towards accommodating more patients from all across the world. It is a great country to find affordable treatment options.
The Joint Commission International (JCI) accredits and certifies most health care organizations and programs all around the world. Joint Commission International Accreditation and Certification is recognized as the global leader for health care quality of care and patient safety.
Doctors associated with Medigence are of the best quality. We hope to give our patients a pleasant experience and the best doctors we can find. Since South Africa has a lot of requirements in the field of healthcare, the country attracts doctors from all over the world to contribute their services. This can help to ensure that even you receive the best quality of doctors.
One can apply for a visa to South Africa for a period of 90 days. The High Commission of India can then help one decide for how long a visa can be extended. This usually differs from person to person. The Medical Visa allows a person to stay for a maximum of six months with a valid visa. After this, one can go to the FRO office ( Foreigner’s Registration Office ) or FRRO (Foreigner's Regional Registration Office) and request for an extension. Do note that the validity of a visa begins on the day it is issued by the High Commission of India and not on the date of departure. Applications for visas will not be accepted more than 30 days prior to departure.
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While many cities are striving to create some of the best hospitals in South Africa, Durban, Lenasia, and Cape Town already have some very good hospitals for treatment in South Africa. Located in Durban, Ethekwini Hospital and Heart Centre is a reasonable and affordable hospital in South Africa. Life Kingsbury Hospital in Capetown provides a holistic healing environment for patients. One can also opt for the Ahmed Kathrada Private Hospital in Lenasia. This hospital has been running for nearly 30 years now and various medical facilities can be availed from here.

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