ductus arteriosus love

ductus arteriosus

Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a shunt that connects the pulmonary artery to the aorta during fetal development

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a blood vessel in a fetus that bypasses pulmonary circulation by connecting the pulmonary artery directly to the ascending aorta; normally closes at birth

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  • "The ductus arteriosus is a small blood vessel that in the fetus joins the aorta to the pulmonary artery. Babies have lungs, of course, but prior to birth don't use them; all their oxygen comes from the placenta, via the umbilical cord. Ergo, no need for blood to be circulated to the lungs, save to nourish the developing tissue—and so the ductus arteriosus bypasses the pulmonary circulation.

    At birth, though, the baby takes its first breath, and oxygen sensors in this small vessel cause it to contract—and close permanently. With the ductus arteriosus closed, blood heads out from the heart to the lungs, picks up oxygen, and comes back to be pumped out to the rest of the body. A neat and elegant system—save that it doesn't always work properly."
    —Diana Gabaldon, A Breath of Snow and Ashes (New York: Bantam Dell, 2005), 922

    February 3, 2010