Pulmonary Atresia Open the popup dialog
Pulmonary atresia (uh-TREE-zhuh) is a (congenital) heart defect that is present at birth and is usually diagnosed shortly after birth. With pulmonary atresia, the valve that allows blood to flow from the heart to your or your baby’s lungs (lung valve) does not form properly.
Instead of opening and closing to allow blood to travel from the heart to the lungs, a solid layer of tissue forms. As a result, the blood cannot travel its normal route to take in oxygen from the lungs. Instead, some of the blood gets to the lungs through other natural passages in the heart and its arteries.
These passages are necessary when your baby is developing in the womb and usually closes shortly after birth. Babies with pulmonary atresia usually have bluish skin from not getting enough oxygen.
If your baby is born with pulmonary atresia, symptoms will become noticeable soon after it is born. Your baby’s signs and symptoms may include:
- Skin that is blue or gray (cyanosis)
- Rapid breathing or shortness of breath
- Get or be tired easily
- Feeding problems
Chambers and heart valves
Ventricles and Heart Valves Open the popup dialog
There is no known cause of pulmonary atresia. To understand the problems caused by pulmonary atresia, it is helpful to know how the heart works.
How the heart works
The heart is divided into four hollow chambers, two on the right and two on the left. In its basic job – to pump blood around the body – the heart uses its left and right sides to do different things.
The right side of the heart carries blood to the lungs through vessels called pulmonary arteries. In the lungs, the blood picks up oxygen and then returns to the left side of the heart through the pulmonary veins. The left side of the heart then pumps blood through the aorta to the rest of the body to provide oxygen to your baby’s body.
In most cases, the exact cause of a congenital heart defect such as pulmonary atresia is unknown. However, several factors can increase the risk of having a baby with a congenital heart defect, including:
- A parent with a congenital heart defect
- Obese mother before pregnancy
- Smoke before or during pregnancy
- A mother with poorly controlled diabetes
- Use of certain types of medication during pregnancy, e.g. B. Certain acne and high blood pressure medications
Because the exact cause of pulmonary atresia is unknown, it may not be prevented. However, there are things you can do to reduce your child’s overall risk of congenital heart defects, such as:
Control chronic diseases. If you have diabetes, controlling your blood sugar can reduce the risk of heart defects. If you have other chronic conditions such as high blood pressure or epilepsy that require medication, discuss the risks and benefits of these medications with your doctor.
Do not smoke. Smoking cigarettes while pregnant can increase your baby’s risk of developing heart defects.
Maintain a healthy weight. If you’re overweight, you have a higher risk of having a baby with a congenital heart defect.