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Truncus Arteriosus: A Congenital Heart Disease

If you took medications while pregnant and your child was born with truncus arteriosus, you may have a claim.

Also referred to as “common truncus,” truncus arteriosus affects the heart - a malformation of the aorta and pulmonary artery. The vessels, which are meant to be independent of each other, fail to completely separate, causing the vessel to remain fused. Depending on the way the arteries stay connected, the truncus may have a different name. A child that develops truncus arteriosus will naturally experience discomfort due to difficulty breathing as the malformation leaves a gap between the two ventricles. This forces the heart to work harder to pump blood to the lungs and can lead to pulmonary hypertension and death.

Truncus arteriosus is a serious but rare condition that affects less than one out of every 10,000 babies born. Each year in the United States, roughly 300 babies are born with common truncus. In most cases, the cause is unknown, but research has shown that certain medications taken during pregnancy can have a negative impact on the development of the child. This can include certain selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Prozac, Zoloft, and others. If you were pregnant while taking an antidepressant and your child developed truncus arteriosus, you may have the right to file a claim.

Discuss your options in a free case review. Call (713) 425-7100 today.

Diagnosing Truncus Arteriosus

Normally, prenatal tests and ultrasound can help determine if the baby has developed any type of heart defect during the term of the pregnancy. Because the child’s heart will be overcompensating after birth, the first few days after birth may be difficult and the baby may show signs of distress.

Common symptoms of truncus arteriosus include:

  • Bluish skin
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Weak heart rate
  • Pounding heart
  • Poor eating habits
  • Trouble breathing

Treatment Options

When a baby is born with truncus arteriosus, there are still options to ensure the child’s survival. The most common and necessary option to repair truncus arteriosus is surgery. Typically, the truncal vessel is preserved and altered to become a new, functioning aorta. The point of fusion between the two vessels is then separated and the hole between the two is closed to secure the prevention of any other ventricular septal defects. Once completely repaired, the child might still require a second surgery in the future to rebuild one or both of the vessels in order to ensure that the structures grow as the child grows. If left untreated, the child will typically die within the first year of its life.

BCH: We Fight On Your Behalf

Our team at Bailey Cowan Heckaman PLLC is committed to making sure mothers and families know their legal options if there is a possibility that the use of a certain medication during pregnancy led to a baby developing truncus arteriosus. The two most important things for you to remember during this time is that this is not your fault, and you do have options. Our attorneys can work with you to determine the exact cause of your child’s birth defect. If a medication was to blame for the condition, we work to hold the drug manufacturer accountable and seek the compensation you deserve.

Call us today at (713) 425-7100.

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