Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

When your baby was born, your baby's height, weight and head circumference were recorded, and these measurements are taken at all regularly scheduled appointments with your child's doctor. He or she will repeat these measurements during a special appointment and determine if there has been any delay in growth.

Your baby's doctor will also listen to your baby's lungs to assess his or her breathing and the possibility of fluid in the lungs. The doctor will listen to your baby's heart to determine if there are irregular heartbeats (arrhythmia) or an abnormal whooshing sound caused by turbulent blood flow (heart murmur).

For babies with truncus arteriosus, much of their medical care is provided by a pediatric cardiologist along with a pediatric cardiac surgeon and often a whole team of specialized staff.

In order for the pediatric cardiologist to check the condition of your baby's heart and make a diagnosis, he or she will order one or more tests:

  • Echocardiogram. An echocardiogram shows the structure and function of your baby's heart. With this test, a technician spreads gel on your baby's chest and then presses a device called a transducer against the skin over his or her heart. The transducer emits high-pitched sound waves and records the sound wave echoes as they reflect off internal structures. A computer converts the echoes into moving images on a monitor.

    In a baby with truncus arteriosus, the echocardiogram reveals the single large vessel leading from the heart, a hole in the wall between the left and right ventricles, and sometimes an abnormality in the valve between the large vessel and the ventricles.

    Because an echocardiogram shows the flow of blood, it may also reveal blood moving back and forth between the two ventricles and the amount of blood flowing to your baby's lungs. The amount of blood can indicate the risk of high blood pressure in the lungs.

  • X-ray. An X-ray exam uses electromagnetic radiation to produce still images of internal organs and structures. A chest X-ray of your baby can show the size of the heart, abnormalities in the lungs and excess fluid in the lungs.
Nov. 02, 2012

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