Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
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Monroe Carell Jr.
Children's Hospital
at Vanderbilt
2200 Children's Way
Nashville, TN 37232

(615) 936-1000

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Truncus Arteriosus


What is Truncus Arteriosus?
Truncus arteriosus is characterized by having one large vessel coming from both heart ventricles, as opposed to a normal heart with two separate vessels (aorta and pulmonary artery). It is also likely that the wall (septum) between the two heart chambers is missing. This allows oxygen-rich and oxygen-poor blood to mix together and can cause severe circulatory problems. Symptoms include heart failure, heart enlargement, lethargy, poor feeding, and shortness of breath.

How do we diagnose Truncus Arteriosus?
Typically, a heart murmur is heard when the physician performs a physical exam. An EKG can show signs that the heart is enlarged. A chest x-ray, echocardiogram, and MRI of the heart can help the physician diagnose this defect.

How do we treat Truncus Arteriosus?
A surgical repair usually includes three components:

  • The pulmonary arteries are separated from the truncus arteriosus.
  • Patch closure of the ventricular septal defect.
  • Creating a connection between the right ventricle and the pulmonary arteries.  A hollow tube with a valve in it will be used to create this connection.

Last Edited: December 18, 2012
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