Truncus arteriosus is a serious heart defect present at birth. It drastically affects the path of the blood as it travels from the heart to the lungs to be oxygenated. As a result, infants with this defect are chronically hypoxic or lacking oxygen. Signs and symptoms can appear when an infant is only a few days old, or doctors may identify the defect in utero. Babies with truncus ateriosus require extensive heart surgery and often need additional surgeries throughout their lifetime.
Truncus arteriosus is a congenital defect, which means it is present at birth. Normally, the heart has two separate arteries: one carries blood from the heart to the body, and the other carries blood from the heart to the lungs. In infants with truncus arteriosus, the heart only has one artery, which disrupts normal blood flow.
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