Pulmonary Atresia

1 What is Pulmonary Atresia?

A form of heart disease that occurs from birth is called pulmonary atresia. In this condition pulmonary valve did not form properly that is diagnosed within the first few hours or days of life.

The pulmonary valve regulates blood flow from the right ventricle (right side pumping chamber) to the lungs that is an opening on the right side of the heart.

In pulmonary atresia the valve stays closed because a solid sheet of tissue forms where the valve opening is and then the blood from the right side of your heart can’t go to the lungs to get oxygen.

2 Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of pulmonary atresia may include:

  • fast breathing;
  • bluish colored skin (cyanosis);
  • poor eating habits (babies may sweat or get tired);
  • shortness of breath;
  • fatigue;
  • pale skin

3 Causes

The cause of pulmonary atresia is unknown. Doctors think that the problems begin early in the pregnancy.

4 Making a Diagnosis

Diagnostic tests that your doctor may recommend for pulmonary atresia include:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG) – to check if there are heart muscle stress or any abnormal heart rhythms or arrhythmias or dysrhythmias;
  • X-ray – to check the extent of your baby’s pulmonary atresia because this will show his internal tissues;
  • Echocardiogram – to check your child’s heart;
  • cardiac catheterization – this will show your child’s heart structure and the oxygen levels and blood pressure.

5 Treatment

Some of the possible treatments for pulmonary atresia include:

  • heart transplant,
  • heart catheterization to repair the problem,
  • open heart surgery to place a tube between the pulmonary arteries and the right ventricle,
  • repair or replace the valve; reconstructing the heart as a single ventricle.

Prostaglandin E1 is mostly used to help the blood circulate into the lungs, this will keep the blood vessel open between the aorta and the pulmonary artery.

6 Prevention

There is no possible way to prevent pulmonary atresia. Once you get pregnant, you should have routine pre natal care because congenital defects can be discovered on a routine ultrasound.

7 Alternative and Homeopathic Remedies

There are no homeopathic or alternative remedies for pulmonary atresia.

8 Lifestyle and Coping

If your child has pulmonary atresia, you can follow some of these lifestyle measures at home:

  • give your baby frequent small feedings,
  • take preventive antibiotics to prevent bacteria entering your child’s bloodstream,
  • help your child to stay active for the heart to stay fit,
  • follow regular check-ups with your child’s doctor,
  • follow up with your child’s immunizations.

9 Risks and Complications

There are several risks and complications associated with pulmonary atresia.

The risk factors of pulmonary atresia include:

  • a parent who has a congenital heart defect,
  • a mother who had German measles or another viral illness while she was pregnant,
  • smoking while pregnant,
  • drinking alcohol while pregnant,
  • a mother who has lupus,
  • a mother who has diabetes,
  • the presence of Down syndrome which is a condition when there is an extra 21st chromosome,
  • medicines such as anti-seizures medication or bipolar disorder medications.

Possible complications include: