Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Truncus Arteriosus

Truncus arteriosus is a congenital heart condition in which the embryological structure known as the truncus arteriosus never fully divides into two independent blood vessels: the pulmonary artery and aorta. In the heart of a healthy person, the aorta, containing oxygen-rich, blood comes out of the left ventricle, and the pulmonary artery, containing deoxygenated blood, comes out of the right ventricle; thus, these two blood vessels are separate from each other. In truncus arteriosus disease, a single artery comes out of the two ventricles. There is usually also a large hole between the two ventricles (ventricular septal defect). As a result, the blue (without oxygen) and red (oxygen-rich) blood mix.

Symptoms of truncus arteriosus include bluish skin, fatigue, lethargy, delayed growth, etc. Treatment is with neonatal surgical repair. The ventricular septal defect is closed with a patch. The pulmonary arteries are then detached from the common artery (truncus arteriosus) and connected to the right ventricle using a tube (a conduit or tunnel). There have been cases where the condition has not been diagnosed at birth and surgical intervention is not an option. A number of these cases have survived well into adulthood.

Surgery to Repair Truncus Arteriosus (Video), Performed by Dr. Redmond Burke MD