In premature babies, PDA can cause breathing difficulties that may necessitate increased respiratory support. A murmur may be heard on examination of the heart. In very premature and small babies, a large PDA may occasionally result in bleeding into the lungs (pulmonary hemorrhage) which can be life-threatening.
PDA is usually suspected in a premature baby by clinical examination. An echocardiography of the heart (ultrasound scanning) done at the bedside can confirm the diagnosis. This ultrasound examination can also determine the size of the PDA.