ductus arteriosus (embryology)

Last reviewed 01/2018

The ductus arteriosus is an essential vessel within the fetal circulation:

  • it extends from the distal part of the pulmonary trunk superolaterally to the inferior surface of the aorta at a site that is distal to the origin of its first three main branches
  • it conveys deoxygenated blood from the right ventricle to the aorta and thence to the umbilical arteries within the placenta
  • hence, it short-circuits the lungs and instead permits reoxygenation of blood via the placenta
  • in normal development, the ductus forms the ligamentum arteriosum

More details are given in the section on patent ductus arteriosus.