Truncus Arteriosus

What is Truncus Arteriosus?

Truncus arteriosus(TA) is a congenital heart defect having acute complexities. This disease occurs barely in one out of every 10,000 births. It does not always occur by itself, but as component of some genetic disorder. In this condition of truncus arteriosus, only one vessel appears to connect the heart to the rest of the body organs, as opposed to the two separate vessels of blood. The truncus arteriosus is a heart defect that a child gets at the time of birth. It is 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 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.


The symptoms of this disease generally develop in the initial days of life after the birth, and they include:

  • Palpitations.
  • Restlessness and irritability.
  • Breathlessness, which is also called dyspnea.
  • Breathing rapidly, which is also called tachypnea.
  • Poor physical growth.
  • Sleepiness.
    Discolouration of the skin (cyanosis).
  • Poor feeding.
  • Fatigue.


The causes of this disease are unknown. However, it occurs during the fetal growth of the baby, when the heart is developing. The typical heart structure and functions help to understand the defects of heart.



The main risk factors of this disease 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 this disease, one should take care of the following:

  • Controlling diabetes.
  • Taking folic acid.
  • Avoiding fatal medications.
  • Taking a vaccination before getting pregnant.

How is it diagnosed?

The disorder has to be diagnosed way before the birth of the infant via sonography, or immediately after the birth. At Medanta, the technologies used to diagnose the disease include:


How is it treated?

The treatment of truncus arteriosus depends upon various factors such as adequate nutrition, the right kind of medications, and appropriate surgery. 


  • Medications

    Babies with this disease 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

    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.

  • Nutrition

    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.

When do I contact the doctor?

You should immediately consult a doctor, if your baby reflects symptoms such as sleepiness, poor physical growth, breathless, palpitations, and fatigue. All these symptoms are going to be treated just right with the help of our medical expertise at Medanta. 

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