Pulmonary atresia (uh-TREE-zhuh) is a heart defect present at birth (congenital) that's normally diagnosed within the first few hours or days of life. In pulmonary atresia, the valve that lets blood out of the heart to go to your baby's lungs (pulmonary valve) doesn't form correctly. Instead of opening and closing to allow blood to travel from your heart to your lungs, a solid sheet of tissue forms. Blood from the right side of your baby's heart can't go back to the lungs to pick up oxygen.

Pulmonary atresia is a life-threatening situation. Procedures to correct your baby's heart condition and medications to help your baby's heart work more effectively are the first steps to treat pulmonary atresia. Depending on your child's condition, more surgeries will often be necessary in childhood. Ongoing medical care through adulthood can improve your child's prognosis.

Jan. 24, 2013

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