Truncus arteriosus is a defect in the large blood vessels that leave the heart.
Normally, two large blood vessels called the aorta and pulmonary artery carry blood away from the heart. The aorta carries oxygen rich blood from the heart to the rest of the body. The pulmonary artery carries oxygen poor blood from the heart to the lungs. As the heart develops. a section of these two blood vessels sometimes combines together. It creates one large vessel called the truncus arteriosus. The oxygen poor and oxygen rich blood leaving the heart mix in this combined blood vessel. The mixed blood lowers the amount of oxygen rich blood that reaches the body.
The defect also includes a large hole in the wall between the lower chambers of the heart.
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.http://services.epnet.com/getimage.aspx?imageiid=75857585si55551150.jpgsi55551150.jpgNULLjpgsi55551150.jpgNULL\\hgfiler01a\intellect\images\si55551150.jpgNULL82NULL2008-12-103004007585_618450250350Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
Copyright © 2002 Nucleus Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.http://services.epnet.com/getimage.aspx?imageiid=24472447si55551157.jpgBlood Flow Through the HeartNULLjpgBlood Flow Through the HeartNULL\\filer01\Intellect\images\si55551157.jpgCopyright © 2002 Nucleus Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.49NULL2002-10-012553912447_618450Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
Truncus arteriosus is caused by a congenital defect. This means that the problem develops in the womb and a baby is born with it. It is not known exactly why this happens.
Things that may raise the risk of truncus arteriosus are:
Low oxygen levels in the body may cause symptoms such as:
- Blue or pale grayish skin color
- Fast breathing
- Poor feeding
- Poor weight gain
The doctor will ask about your child's symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. A rapid heart rate may be detected during the exam.
Blood tests will be done.
Images may be taken of your child's body. This can be done with:
Your child's heart function may be tested. This can be done with:
The goal of treatment is to improve blood flow.
Medicine may be given to:
- Decrease fluid buildup
- Improve heart function
Surgery will be done right away. This may be done by:
- Creating a new pulmonary artery to carry blood to the lungs
- Creating a new aorta to carry blood to the rest of the body
- Closing the hole in the wall between the lower chambers of the heart
Lifelong heart monitoring will also be needed.
There are no current guidelines to prevent truncus arteriosus.
- Congenital heart defects. American Heart Association website. Available at: https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/congenital-heart-defects.
- Truncus arteriosus. Cove Point Foundation—Johns Hopkins University website. Available at: http://www.pted.org/?id=truncusarteriosus1.
- Truncus arteriosus. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/truncus-arteriosus.
- Kari Kuenn, MD
(C) Copyright 2022 EBSCO Information Services
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.