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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Pulmonary Atresia
      Category : Health Centers > Heart Diseases

Pulmonary Atresia

Alternate Names : Pulmonic Atresia

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

Pulmonary atresia is a serious birth defect in the heart which causes congenital heart disease.

What is going on in the body?

The heart has four chambers. One of these chambers is called the right ventricle. The job of the right ventricle is to pump blood into the main lung arteries so the lungs can give oxygen to the blood. In pulmonary atresia, the opening of the right ventricle that leads to the main lung arteries is abnormally formed. The opening is either severely narrowed or absent. Blood cannot be effectively pumped into the lungs, which results in symptoms due to low oxygen in the blood. Affected babies usually have other heart and blood vessel defects as well.

What are the causes and risks of the condition?

As with most birth defects, the cause is usually unknown. Some cases may be caused by:

  • infections passed from the mother to the fetus during pregnancy
  • certain medications taken by the mother during pregnancy, such as medications to control seizures
  • alcohol use by a woman during pregnancy
  • genetic disorders, such as Down syndrome


    Next section


    Pulmonary Atresia: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: Adam Brochert, MD
    Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 07/24/01

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