What is Anomalous Left Coronary Artery from the Pulmonary Artery?

Also known as: ALCAPA, anomalous left coronary artery, ALCA

What is Anomalous Left Coronary Artery from the Pulmonary Artery?

In a normal heart, the left coronary artery starts in the aorta (the blood vessel that transports blood with oxygen from the heart  to the rest of the body including the heart ). In babies who are born  with ALCAPA, this artery starts at the pulmonary artery, ( the artery that takes blood that needs oxygen to the lungs ) which means that  the heart muscle doesn't get enough oxygen.


What causes anomalous left coronary artery from the pulmonary artery?

The cause of this very rare congenital abnormality is unknown, however it seems to affect boys & girls, all ethnicities and people in different countries fairly equally.


What are the symptoms of anomalous left coronary artery from the pulmonary artery? 

Untreated, as the heart muscle muscle is starved of oxygen, it cannot function properly. This leads to symptoms such as pale skin, poor feeding, sweating, rapid breathing, pain, distress and abnormal heart rhythm.  Without corrective surgery it can lead to a heart attack and death.


How is anomalous left coronary artery from the pulmonary artery treated? 

The condition requires surgery to correct. After surgery, many infants can go on to lead healthy, normal lives.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 3/23/2018 2:05:13 PM

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Robert Hannan, MD of Nicklaus Children's Hospital is a pediatric cardiovascular surgeon with The Heart Program.


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