Infants with truncus arteriosus must have surgery. Multiple procedures or surgeries might be necessary, especially as your child grows. Medications might be given before surgery to help improve heart health.
Children and adults with surgically repaired truncus arteriosus must have regular follow-up with their cardiology team.
Medications that might be prescribed before surgery include:
- Diuretics. Often called water pills, diuretics increase the frequency and volume of urination, preventing fluid from collecting in the body, which is a common effect of heart failure.
- Inotropic agents. This type of medication strengthens the heart's contractions.
Most infants with truncus arteriosus have surgery within the first few weeks after birth. The procedure will depend on your baby's condition. Most commonly your baby's surgeon will:
- Close the hole between the two ventricles with a patch
- Separate the upper portion of the pulmonary artery from the single large vessel
- Implant a tube and valve to connect the right ventricle with the upper portion of the pulmonary artery — creating a new, complete pulmonary artery
- Reconstruct the single large vessel and aorta to create a new, complete aorta
After corrective surgery, your child will need lifelong follow-up care with a cardiologist. The cardiologist might recommend that your child limit physical activity, particularly intense competitive sports.
Your child will need to take antibiotics before dental procedures and other surgical procedures to prevent infections.
Because the artificial conduit does not grow with your child, follow-up surgeries to replace the conduit valve are necessary as he or she ages.
Minimally invasive procedures use a cardiac catheter to avoid the need for traditional heart surgery as your child grows or previously placed artificial valves deteriorate. The catheter is inserted into a blood vessel in the leg that is then threaded up to the heart to replace the conduit.
In addition, cardiac catheterization with an inflatable balloon tip can be used to open up an obstructed or narrowed artery, which might delay the need for follow-up surgery.
Women who've had surgery to repair truncus arteriosus in infancy need to be evaluated by a cardiologist with expertise in adult congenital heart defects and an obstetrician specializing in high-risk pregnancies before attempting to become pregnant.
Depending on the level of lung damage that occurred before surgery, pregnancy might or might not be recommended. In addition, some drugs taken for heart problems can be harmful to an unborn baby.