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What is the treatment for truncus arteriosus?

Surgical repair of truncus arteriosus is recommended in the first two weeks of the baby’s life. In the procedure, the surgeon separates the blood vessel going to the lungs (the pulmonary artery) from the truncus arteriosus and connects it directly to the heart’s lower right pumping chamber (the right ventricle) using a valve-containing tube (conduit). In addition, the hole in the wall between the heart’s two lower chambers (the ventricles) is closed to separate the circulation to its normal state. This allows only blood from the left ventricle to be pumped into the truncus arteriosus, which functions as the child’s aorta to carry blood from the left ventricle out to the body.

If not treated, truncus arteriosus will lead to heart failure. Symptoms of heart failure include rapid breathing, poor feeding and failure to gain weight and grow properly. Within months, the bluish discoloration of the child’s skin will increase. Damage to the blood vessels of the lungs will result in less blood flow to the lungs, a situation that eventually will cause death.

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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.