NEWS | September 18, 2018

UC Davis Children's Hospital first to offer patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) closures without surgery in tiny premature babies


Marcellus Brown was born prematurely at 24 weeks and his ductus arteriosus, an artery in the heart that normally closes after birth, didn’t close.

Marcellus Brown had a PDA closure without surgery

The ductus arteriosus is an artery in the heart that normally closes after a full-term birth. But for many premature babies, this artery does not close on its own and or does not close completely, leading to a condition called patent ductus arteriosus (PDA). Twenty to 60 percent of all premature babies report PDA which can lead to infant illness and disease, if not treated. The only solution in the Sacramento region has been surgery, until now.

Sacramento families now have an alternative: a PDA closure procedure for premature infants as small as 600 grams, or 1.3 pounds, that can be done in the cardiac catheterization lab. This reduces risks and only requires a general anesthetic for the procedure. Frank Ing, chief of pediatric cardiology at UC Davis Children’s Hospital, has been doing these closures while at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and has brought it to the Sacramento region. 

“We are so happy that we had the choice of a PDA closure without surgery,” said Alexandria Brown, Marcellus’ mother, who said they had tried using two courses of medication to close his ductus, but it did not work. “We met everyone in the cath lab during his procedure and the staff made us feel really comfortable. They inserted a thin wire into his groin and there were no scars.”

Marcellus Brown is now healthy and happy and back at home with his family in Reno.

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UC Davis Children's Hospital is the Sacramento region's only nationally ranked, comprehensive hospital providing care for infants, children, adolescents and young adults with primary, subspecialty and critical care. It includes the Central Valley's only pediatric emergency department and level I pediatric trauma center, which offers the highest level of care for its critically ill patients, as well as a level I children's surgery center. The 129-bed children's hospital includes the state-of-the-art 49-bed neonatal and 24-bed pediatric intensive care and pediatric cardiac intensive care units. For more information, visit