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.
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.
Innovations at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital in the treatment of truncus arteriosus include:
At Children’s Heart Institute at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, patients with congenital or acquired heart disorders receive hands-on specialized care 24/7 from a team of affiliated physicians and specialty-trained nurses who aim to deliver the best possible outcomes.
Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital was named one of the top 50 best children's hospitals nationally in Cardiology & Heart Surgery by U.S. News & World Report. In addition, Children’s Heart Institute is among the top congenital heart surgery programs in North America for patient care and outcomes, according to the Fall 2019 Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) Congenital Heart Surgery Database Report of 118 STS participating programs.
In collaboration with various subspecialties, the affiliated team provides comprehensive care for newborns, children and adolescents, with the ability to transition into adult congenital cardiac care. Team members have the experience and skills necessary to offer innovative treatment methods and specialized services, including, but not limited to:
With the Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and a dedicated Children’s Heart Institute Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, critical heart patients have access to quality, specialized care. By utilizing state-of-the-art techniques, the team at Children’s Heart Institute strives to offer patients with the most complex problems the greatest opportunity for a normal life.
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The Children’s Heart Institute is a collaboration between the affiliated physicians at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston and Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. Typically, patients are seen on an outpatient basis at a UT Physicians clinic with all inpatient procedures performed at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital.