Pulmonary atresia is a congenital heart disease noticed in the first hours after the baby is born. It is a form of heart disease when the pulmonary valve does not form properly. In pulmonary atresia, the pulmonary valve, which should normally open and close to let normal bloodflow from the right heart to the lungs, it stays closed. Artesia means that a passage or opening in the body is narrowed or doesn’t exist.
Treatment will be immediately taken as this could be a life-threatening condition.
Symptoms of pulmonary atresia occur in the first few hours of life or in a few days after delivery. The symptoms are:
- Bluish or gray colored skin (cyanosis)
- Fast breathing
- Poor eating habits (babies may get tired while nursing or sweat during feedings)
The cause of pulmonary artesia is not known, as it is a congenital heart disease.
Before birth, there is no problem because the placenta provides oxygen. The unborn baby has a hole (which often shuts after birth) between the upper heart chambers, so that the oxygen-rich blood can flow easily to the aorta and the rest of the organs. There may be another hole between the two chambers, called ventricular septal defect. This hole is a pathway for the blood to enter from the right to the left ventricle. If this is absent, then the right ventricle will not develop appropriately because it does not receive enough blood flow.
After birth, the body is on its own, so it has to provide oxygen by itself. In case of pulmonary artesia, the blood has poor-oxygen blood flow which is not sufficient for the body. In the first hours after birth, when pulmonary artesia is diagnosed, there is still a connection between the aorta and the pulmonary artery (ductus arteriosus) which can be kept open with medications in order to provide oxygen from the lungs.
There are no specific risk factors for pulmonary edema. The risk factors in this case refer to the risk factors for the disease or conditions that cause the pulmonary edema.
The complications of pulmonary atresia arise from the complications associated with the underlying cause. Here are some of them:
- Delayed growth and development
- Stroke (not very common, but if children have ventricular septal defect, blood clot can travel to the brain)
- Infectious endocarditis (inflammation of the inner lining of the heart)
- Heart failure (usually occurs in cases of severe heart defect, six months after birth)
- Pulmonary atresia with intact ventricular septum
No prevention of this condition is possible..
However, regular check-ups of pregnant women could discovered problems like pulmonary atresia on a routine ultrasound examinations. This can alert medical specialists to be prepared during birth and help immediately.