Truncus Arteriosus: Overview

What is truncus arteriosus?

Truncus arteriosus is a congenital defect in which the two major arteries of the heart (the aorta and the pulmonary artery) fail to separate during development. Instead, there is only one large vessel coming from the heart.

The large artery, known as the truncus arteriosus, has one valve that carries blood from both ventricles. Almost every child with this heart condition also has a hole between the ventricles, known as a ventricular septal defect (VSD). This condition results in too much blood going to the lungs and can result in irreversible damage to the heart and the arteries of the lungs.

Who is at risk for truncus arteriosus?

Truncus arteriosus is a congenital heart defect, meaning it develops as a child is growing in the womb. While doctors do not know exactly what causes truncus arteriosus, there are several common risk factors that may increase the chances of a baby being born with a heart condition.

Children with this heart condition may also have genetic syndromes like DiGeorge syndrome. These and other genetic syndromes require specialized treatments from the experts at Children's Hospital Colorado.

Learn about our top-ranked Heart Institute for the treatment of this condition.