Patent ductus arteriosus is an inherited heart disorder in which the blood vessel that provides a detour around a baby’s lungs while in the womb fails to close as it should once the lungs are functioning in the first days after birth. This condition is slightly more common in girls than boys, and most often occurs in babies that are born prematurely. It is also frequently seen in babies born with other types of heart defects. Because of the abnormal flow of blood that is occurring between the aorta and pulmonary artery, infants with patent ductus arteriosus may display rapid breathing, a racing heartbeat, poor feeding and slowed growth. Sometimes the problem will resolve on its own, but when treatment is required, this may include medications, catheter procedures or surgery.