Truncus arteriosus (TA) is a congenital heart defect that has acute complexities. This disease is very rare and it barely occurs in 1 out of every 10,000 births. It does not always happen by itself, but as component of some genetic disorder.
Only one vessel appears to connect the heart to the rest organs of the body, as opposed to the two separate vessels of blood in truncus arteriosus. The truncus arteriosus is a heart defect that a child gets during the time of birth.
This disease occurs when the baby is still in the stage of developing and the blood vessel emerging from his heart declines to part totally, leaving both the aorta and pulmonary artery in connection with each other.
In a baby suffering with truncus arteriosus, the mixed oxygen-rich and oxygen-poor blood flows to the whole body and the lungs, and as a consequence, the heart has to exert a bit in pumping the right amount of blood to all the parts of the body.
Causes of Truncus Arteriosus
The cause of this disease is still unknown. However, it happens at the time of fetal growth of the baby, when the heart is developing. The typical heart structure and functions help to understand the defects of heart.
Risks related to Truncus Arteriosus
The main risk factors of truncus arteriosus include:
- Diabetes that are poorly controlled.
- Smoking at the time of pregnancy.
- Some medications taken during pregnancy.
- Chromosomal disorders.
In order to prevent the occurrence of truncus arteriosus, one should take care of the following:
- Controlling diabetes.
- Taking folic acid.
- Avoiding fatal medications.
- Taking a vaccination before getting pregnant.
How is Truncus Arteriosus diagnosed?
The disorder has to be diagnosed way before the birth of the infant via sonography, or immediately after the birth. Some of the technologies used to diagnose truncus arteriosus include:
- ECG (Electrocardiogram)
- Cardiac Catheterization
- MRI Scan
Symptoms of Truncus Arteriosus
The symptoms of truncus arteriosus generally develop in the initial days of life after the birth, and they include:
- Restlessness and irritability
- Breathlessness, which is also called dyspnea
- Breathing rapidly, which is also called tachypnea
- Poor physical growth
- Discoloration of the skin (cyanosis)
- Poor feeding
How is Truncus Arteriosus treated?
The treatment of truncus arteriosus basically relies upon many things like proper nutrition, the right type of medications, and appropriate surgery.
Babies with truncus arteriosus shall be required to take medicines to control their blood pressure, to boost their heart muscles, and help them get rid of any extra fluid inside the body.
Surgery is a must to fix the blood vessels of the heart. The performance of surgery involves closing the holes between the bottom chambers of the heart, using the single blood vessel to carry oxygen-rich blood to the body and also using an artificial valve so as to link the right ventricle to the arteries.
For the baby’s proper nutrition, a special high-calorie diet should be prescribed. Babies having this disorder might get tired while feeding, so they may have to be fed through a feeding tube.