Truncus arteriosus is a congenital heart defect, meaning it is present from birth. In this condition, a baby’s heart has a single large artery instead of the usual two, which leads to the mixing of oxygen-poor and oxygen-rich blood. This mixing reduces the oxygen supply to the body and increases blood flow to the lungs, placing extra strain on the heart.
Typically, individuals with truncus arteriosus also have a hole between the lower chambers of the heart, known as ventricles, referred to as a ventricular septal defect. Another term for truncus arteriosus is common arterial trunk.
Truncus arteriosus is a life-threatening condition, necessitating surgical intervention to correct the heart abnormalities and restore proper blood flow. Successful surgery is often achievable, especially when performed within the first month of a baby’s life.
Symptoms of truncus arteriosus typically manifest within the first few days after birth and may include:
It is essential to consult a healthcare professional if you have concerns about your baby’s feeding habits, sleep patterns, or growth.
However, immediate medical attention is crucial if your baby experiences:
Truncus arteriosus is a congenital heart defect that arises during fetal development, often with no clear cause, and it may be influenced by genetic and environmental factors. In a typical heart, there are four chambers responsible for specific functions: the right atrium receives oxygen-poor blood from the body, the right ventricle pumps blood into the lungs to receive oxygen, the left atrium receives oxygen-rich blood from the lungs, and the left ventricle pumps oxygenated blood throughout the body via the aorta.
Truncus arteriosus is characterized by the failure of the single large blood vessel (truncus) to divide into the pulmonary artery and aorta as it normally should during fetal development, resulting in a condition known as ventricular septal defect (VSD). Although the precise causes are still under investigation, genetics are thought to be a contributing factor, with certain gene changes potentially playing a role in this defect’s development. It’s worth noting that roughly one in three children with truncus arteriosus also have DiGeorge syndrome, a chromosomal disorder associated with heart defects, immune system issues, and developmental delays.
The precise cause of truncus arteriosus remains unclear, but several factors can elevate the risk of a congenital heart problem at birth. These risk factors encompass:
It is important for expectant mothers to be aware of these risk factors and take necessary precautions to ensure the health and well-being of their unborn child.
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