by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Pulmonary atresia (PA) is a rare heart defect. With PA, 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.
PA is present at birth. It is not known exactly why the heart does not form as it should.
These factors raise the chance of PA in your child:
Your child may have:
You will be asked about your child's symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. Your child's doctor may also detect a heart murmur during the exam.
Pictures may be taken of your child's chest. This can be done with:
Talk with the doctor about the best plan for your child. Some defects may be so severe that they are hard to treat. Your child may have:
Medicine will be given to keep a vessel that connects the pulmonary artery and the aorta open. This opening lets some blood continue to reach the lungs, especially when the ventricular septum is healthy. This is a short term treatment.
Sometimes a shunt can be placed between the aorta and pulmonary artery. This is done to help blood flow to the lungs.
Many surgeries may be considered depending on:
Open heart surgery aims to:
When the right ventricle is too small to pump blood, other surgeries may be done. These can reroute blood to the lungs.
Your child will need to see a heart specialist regularly. Your child may need to take antibiotics before certain medical or dental procedures. This is to prevent heart infections.
PA can't be prevented.
American Heart Association
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics
Canadian Cardiovascular Society
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Single ventricle defects. American Heart Association website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated September 12, 2017. Accessed June 29, 2018.
Tetralogy of Fallot in infants and children. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed... . Updated June 19, 2017. Accessed June 29, 2018.
Last reviewed May 2018 by Kari Kassir, MD
Last Updated: 6/29/2018
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