Pulmonary Atresia

Also known as: PA

What is pulmonary atresia?

Pulmonary atresia is a birth defect of the heart where the valve that controls the flow of blood from the right side of the heart to the lungs  does not form, preventing blood picking up oxygen.

What causes pulmonary atresia? 
Pulmonary atresia is a congenital heart defect, which means that babies are born with it. Researchers aren’t sure of the exact cause, but it often occurs along with other heart problems such as patent ductus arteriosus or ventricular septal defect.

What are the symptoms of pulmonary atresia? 
Babies born with PA usually have symptoms at birth or soon afterwards. The lack of oxygen caused by pulmonary atresia leads to problems breathing and a blue tint to the skin. Sleepiness, fatigue and poor feeding also occur.

What are pulmonary atresia care options?
Pulmonary atresia is a “ critical congenital heart defect.” Most babies will need medications to keep the ductus arteriosus open after birth to improve blood flow to the lungs. Surgical procedures will be needed to correct the defect.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 6/12/2018 1:56:38 PM


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From the Newsdesk

August Patient of the Month: Luife
While he was still inside his mother’s womb, Luife was diagnosed with transposition of the great arteries, a congenital heart defect. Shortly after birth, Luife was taken by ambulance to the cardiac team at Nicklaus Children’s. The pediatric cardiology team took Luife’s heart apart, piece by delicate piece, and successfully, put it back together. Today, Luife is a healthy, active and outgoing 8-year-old boy who wears his “Scar of Honor” with pride. 
August Patient of the Month: Luife
While he was still inside his mother’s womb, Luife was diagnosed with transposition of the great arteries, a congenital heart defect. Shortly after birth, Luife was taken by ambulance to the cardiac team at Nicklaus Children’s. The pediatric cardiology team took Luife’s heart apart, piece by delicate piece, and successfully, put it back together. Today, Luife is a healthy, active and outgoing 8-year-old boy who wears his “Scar of Honor” with pride. 

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Kristine Guleserian, MD of Nicklaus Children's Hospital is a congenital heart surgeon with the The Heart Program.