Pulmonary Atresia—Child

Definition

Pulmonary atresia is a rare heart defect. In a normal heart, the blood flows in from the body to the right atrium. It then goes into the right ventricle. Next, the blood travels to the lungs through the pulmonary valve. There, it picks up fresh oxygen. The blood then returns to the left atrium and goes into the left ventricle. The blood moves out to the rest of the body.With this defect, there is no pulmonary valve in the heart. Blood cannot flow into the pulmonary artery. This is the artery that brings blood to the lungs. Other heart problems, like a small right ventricle, may also be present.
Heart Chambers and Valves
heart anatomy
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Blood Flow Through the Heart
IMAGE
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

Pulmonary atresia is present at birth. It is not known exactly why the heart does not develop normally.

Risk Factors

These factors increase the chance of pulmonary atresia in your child:
  • Family history of congenital heart defect
  • Other heart defects
  • Certain chromosomal disorders, such as Down Syndrome

Symptoms

Symptoms may include:
  • Blue skin color
  • Rapid or difficult breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your child's symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Your child's doctor may also detect a heart murmur during the exam.Images may be taken of your child's chest. This can be done with:

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