The ductus arteriosus (DA) shunts blood away from the lungs during fetal life, but at birth this shunt is no longer needed and the vessel rapidly constricts. Postnatal persistence of the DA, patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), is predominantly a detrimental condition for preterm infants but is simultaneously a condition required to maintain systemic blood flow for infants born with certain severe congenital heart defects. Although PDA in preterm infants is associated with significant morbidities, there is controversy regarding whether PDA is truly causative. Despite advances in our understanding of the pathobiology of PDA, the optimal treatment strategy for PDA in preterm infants is unclear. Here we review recent studies that have continued to elucidate the fundamental mechanisms of DA development and pathogenesis.