ductus arteriosus

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A blood vessel in the fetus connecting the pulmonary artery directly to the ascending aorta, so bypassing the pulmonary circulation. It normally closes after birth. Failure of the ductus to close (patent ductus arteriosus) produces a continuous murmur, and the consequences are similar to those of a septal defect. It may close spontaneously in childhood but often requires surgical closure.

Subjects: Medicine and Health.

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