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Truncus Arteriosus

What Is Truncus Arteriosus?

Normally, there are two arteries that arise out of the heart. Arteries are blood vessels that bring blood away from the heart. These two arteries are called aorta, which brings blood to the body, and the pulmonary artery, which brings blood to the lungs. During fetal development, these two arteries start as one artery. Truncus arteriosus occurs when these two arteries fail to separate during development. The red blood from the lungs and the blue blood from the body mixes through a hole between the two pumping chambers, known as ventricles.

As the pressure in the lungs of an infant decrease after birth, too much blood will flow toward the lungs and not enough blood goes out to the body. Babies with truncus arteriosus go into heart failure in the first several weeks of life. Medical therapy can help optimize the infant, but eventually surgery is required.

In severe cases, truncus arteriosus can be associated with a leaking truncal valve, the valve that lets blood out of the heart. This increases the work that the heart has to perform, which can lead to the infant being sicker.

What Other Diagnoses Are Associated With Truncus Arteriosus?

  • Aortic arch interruption
  • Coronary anomalies
  • Septal defects
  • Valve leaking
  • Genetic abnormalities

How We Treat Truncus Arteriosus

The surgery for truncus arteriosus requires the hole inside the heart to be closed, the pulmonary arteries to be removed from the artery out of the heart, and then a valve conduit is connected from the right sided pumping chamber to the pulmonary arteries.

The Children’s Heart Institute at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital has extensive experience treating infants from across the world who have truncus arteriosus. Treatment is individualized to the child’s specific anatomy, age, size and other associated cardiac conditions.

Our Innovative Approach to Truncus Arteriosus

Innovations at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital in the treatment of truncus arteriosus include:

  • Surgical strategies for patients with the highest risk subtypes
  • All-natural tissue repairs
  • Re-operative valve repair for older patients with truncus arteriosus
  • Advanced perfusion strategies
  • “Hybrid” collaborations between interventional cardiology and cardiac surgery

Why Choose Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital?

The Children’s Heart Institute at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital earned the three-star rating, the highest possible distinction, from The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) for its patient care and outcomes in congenital heart surgery. As one of only 10 three-star programs of the STS’s 118 participating programs, the Children’s Heart Institute ranks among the elite in the United States and Canada for congenital heart surgery.

Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital is recognized as one of the top 50 best children's hospitals nationally in Cardiology & Heart Surgery by U.S. News & World Report. Children’s Heart Institute, in collaboration with pediatric sub-specialists at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, provides comprehensive care for newborns and children, with the ability to transition into adult congenital cardiac care.

Contact Us

Pediatric Cardiology Clinic
The University of Texas Health Science Center Professional Building
6410 Fannin, Suite 370
Houston, TX 77030
Phone: (713) 486-6755 (Appointment Line)

Pediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery Clinic
The University of Texas Health Science Center Professional Building
6410 Fannin, Suite 370
Houston, TX 77030
Phone: (713) 500-5746

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