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Can pulmonary atresia (PA) be fixed surgically?

A child born with pulmonary atresia will eventually require surgery to improve the flow of oxygen-rich blood flow to the body and to provide flow to the lung arteries. In pulmonary atresia without a hole between the heart’s two lower pumping chambers (intact ventricular septum), a connection between the right lower pumping chamber of the heart to the lung arteries may be created. Sometimes this pumping chamber is too small and cannot be used to separate the blue (de-oxygenated) and red (oxygenated) blood circulation. This will then require a series of surgeries, called the single ventricle pathway.

When a hole exists between the lower pumping chambers (ventricular septal defect, VSD), these chambers are typically of good size. Sometimes, a tube containing a valve can be placed from the right ventricle to the lung vessels and the VSD can be closed surgically. For those with underdeveloped lung arteries or lung arteries arising from multiple branches from the aorta, reconstruction of these vessels may need to be performed before a tube can be placed from the heart to the lungs. Multiple procedures may be necessary.

In some cases, a minimally invasive procedure can be used, allowing the patient to avoid open-heart surgery.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.