Truncus arteriosus repair

Truncus arteriosus is a condition in which a baby is born with one main blood vessel leaving the heart instead of two. The singular blood vessel tries to do the work of the pulmonary artery — carrying blood to the lungs. It also tries to serve the purpose of the aorta, sending blood returning from the lungs off to the rest of the body with oxygen.


Usually, the baby also has a ventricular septal defect — a hole between the left and right ventricles.


A baby with truncus arteriosus will need surgery to repair the condition. However, the first treatment is stabilizing the baby, usually with medications to control any complications, including congestive heart failure.


Once the pediatric heart specialists at Norton Children’s Heart Institute stabilize your baby, our pediatric cardiothoracic surgeons will operate in the first few weeks of life.


During the operation, your baby will be sedated (asleep) in the care of our pediatric cardiac anesthesiologists. A heart-lung bypass machine will do the work of your baby’s organs while surgeons make the repair.


The board-certified and fellowship-trained cardiothoracic surgeons at Norton Children’s Heart Institute will follow three main steps to repair truncus arteriosus:

  • Install a patch to close the ventricular septal defect.
  • Create an aorta from the single main blood vessel to carry blood from the left ventricle out to the body.
  • Graft a new connection from the right ventricle to arteries that allows blood to flow to the lungs.


This is major reconstructive heart surgery that requires experience, skill and training in the latest techniques.


Norton Children’s Heart Institute, affiliated with the University of Louisville, is the leading provider of pediatric heart care in Louisville and Southern Indiana.


The Society of Thoracic Surgeons has ranked Norton Children’s Heart Institute’s pediatric heart care among the best in the region. With our network of remote diagnostic and treatment services in Kentucky and Southern Indiana, your child can stay close to home for quality care.


Children will need additional procedures as they grow. For instance, the new connection between the right ventricle and the pulmonary arteries doesn’t grow with the child and will need to be replaced.


Your child will need to visit a cardiologist regularly and see an adult congenital heart disease specialist later in life.

Why choose Norton Children’s Heart Institute

No other congenital heart surgery program in Kentucky, Ohio or Southern Indiana is ranked higher by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons than the Norton Children’s Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery Program.

  • Norton Children’s Hospital has been a pioneer in pediatric cardiothoracic surgery, performing Kentucky’s first pediatric heart transplant in 1986 and becoming the second site in the United States to perform an infant heart transplant.
  • Our board-certified and fellowship-trained pediatric cardiovascular surgeons are leaders in the field as clinicians and researchers.
  • More than 5,000 children a year visit Norton Children’s Heart Institute, affiliated with the University of Louisville, for advanced heart care.
  • Norton Children’s Heart Institute successfully performs more than 17,500 procedures a year.
  • The Society of Thoracic Surgeons ranked Norton Children’s Heart Institute among the best in the region after studying years of our patients’ outcomes and our ability to handle a range of pediatric heart conditions, including the most severe.
  • Norton Children’s Heart Institute has satellite outpatient centers in Bowling Green, Frankfort, Owensboro and Paducah; 28 tele-echocardiography locations in Kentucky and Southern Indiana; and six fetal echocardiography locations across Kentucky.
  • The American Board of Thoracic Surgery has certified the cardiothoracic surgeons at Norton Children’s Hospital with subspecialty certification in congenital heart surgery.
  • The Jennifer Lawrence Cardiac Intensive Care Unit is under construction to give our patients the most advanced cardiac intensive care unit available.
  • Our multidisciplinary approach to pediatric heart surgery brings together our specialists in cardiothoracic surgery, cardiology, anesthesiology, cardiac critical care and other areas to create a complete care plan tailored for your child.
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Norton Children’s Heart Institute

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