Congenital Heart Defects Definition of Terms
An analogy of how a normal heart functions if it were a house.
In PDA, abnormal blood flow occurs between two of the major arteries connected to the heart. Before birth, the two major arteries—the aorta and the pulmonary (PULL-mun-ary) artery—are connected by a blood vessel called the ductus arteriosus. This vessel is an essential part of fetal blood circulation.
Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) is a heart problem that occurs soon after birth in some babies. In PDA, abnormal blood flow occurs between two of the major arteries connected to the heart.
Before birth, the two major arteries—the aorta and the pulmonary (PULL-mun-ary) artery—are connected by a blood vessel called the ductus arteriosus. This vessel is an essential part of fetal blood circulation.
Within minutes or up to a few days after birth, the vessel is supposed to close as part of the normal changes occurring in the baby’s circulation.
In some babies, however, the ductus arteriosus remains open (patent). This opening allows oxygen-rich blood from the aorta to mix with oxygen-poor blood from the pulmonary artery. This can put strain on the heart and increase blood pressure in the lung arteries.
Coarctation of the aorta (CoA or CoAo), also called aorticnarrowing, is a congenital condition whereby the aorta is narrow, usually in the area where the ductus arteriosus (ligamentum arteriosum after regression) inserts. The word “coarctation” means narrowing. Coarctations are most common in the aortic arch.
Tetralogy of Fallot results in low oxygenation of blood due to the mixing of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood in the left ventricle via the ventricular septal defect (VSD) and preferential flow of the mixed blood from both ventricles through the aorta because of the obstruction to flow through the pulmonary valve.
Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD), a hole in the heart, is a common heart defect that’s present at birth (congenital). The hole (defect) occurs in the wall (septum) that separates the heart’s lower chambers (ventricles) and allows blood to pass from the left to the right side of the heart.
A “hole” in the wall that separates the top two chambers of the heart. This defect allows oxygen-rich blood to leak into the oxygen-poor blood chambers in the heart. ASD is a defect in the septum between the heart’s two upper chambers (atria).
Tricuspid atresia is a type of heart disease that is present at birth (congenital heart disease), in which the tricuspid heart valve is missing or abnormally developed. The defect blocks blood flow from the right atrium to the right ventricle.
Tricuspid atresia is an uncommon form of congenital heart disease. It affects about 5 in every 100,000 live births. One in 5 people with this condition will also have other heart problems.
Normally, blood flows from the body into the right atrium, then through the tricuspid valve to the right ventricle and on to the lungs. If the tricuspid valve does not open, the blood cannot flow from the right atrium to the right ventricle. Because of the problem with the tricuspid valve, blood ultimately cannot enter the lungs. This is where it must go to pick up oxygen (becomes oxygenated).
Instead, the blood passes through a hole between the right and left atrium. In the left atrium, it mixes with oxygenated blood returning from the lungs. This mix of oxygenated and de-oxygenated blood is then pumped out into the body. This causes oxygen level in the blood to be lower than normal.
The lungs receive blood either through a hole between the right and left ventricles, or through a fetal vessel called the ductus arteriosus that connects the pulmonary artery (artery to the lungs) to the aorta (main artery to the body). The ductus arteriosus is present when a baby is born, but closes by itself shortly after birth.
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