Truncus Arteriosus Symptoms, Causes, Pediatric Nursing NCLEX Review

Truncus arteriosus pediatric nursing NCLEX review over the symptoms, causes, nursing interventions, and pathophysiology.

Truncus arteriosus is a congenital heart defect where there is ONE artery, along with one truncal valve, that connects the right and left ventricles. This truncal artery will function to carry blood to both the lungs and body.

Normally, the heart should be structured where there are TWO arteries. These two arteries are the pulmonary artery and aorta.

The pulmonary artery comes off the right ventricle and carries deoxygenated blood to the lungs. While the aorta comes off the left ventricle and carries oxygenated blood to the body.

However, in this condition one artery is shared by the ventricle along with a truncal valve.

Most cases of truncus arteriosus are associated with a genetic disorder called DiGeorge Syndrome. Truncus arteriosus is relatively rare. According to the, in the United States there are about 300 cases per year.

Symptoms of truncus arteriosus include: cyanosis, increased respiratory rate, heart failure, poor feeding and weight gain, ejection systolic murmur at the left sternal border, and pulmonary hypertension.

Treatment for this condition includes: medications to help heart function since heart failure can occur (this includes Digoxin, ACE inhibitors, and diuretics), and surgery (which is usually performed within the first 14 days of life).

Nursing interventions for truncus arteriosus: this is detailed in the video



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Truncus arteriosus is a rare congenital heart defect that affects infants. It occurs when the pulmonary artery and aorta fail to divide properly during fetal development, resulting in a single large vessel that carries both oxygenated and deoxygenated blood from the heart to the body. This defect can cause a range of symptoms, including difficulty breathing, poor feeding, cyanosis (a bluish tint to the skin), and heart murmurs.

The exact cause of truncus arteriosus is not known, but it is believed to be a result of genetic mutations or environmental factors. Risk factors for the condition include maternal diabetes, alcohol or drug use during pregnancy, and certain genetic disorders.

Diagnosis of truncus arteriosus typically involves a physical exam, imaging tests such as echocardiography, and blood tests. Treatment for the condition typically involves surgery to repair the defect, often within the first few weeks of life. In some cases, additional surgeries may be necessary as the child grows and develops.

Pediatric nurses play a critical role in caring for infants with truncus arteriosus. They must closely monitor the infant’s vital signs, administer medications as prescribed, and provide support to the family during this difficult time. Additionally, pediatric nurses must be knowledgeable about the condition and its treatment in order to provide effective care and educate parents and caregivers about the child’s needs.

For those studying for the NCLEX, it is important to have a thorough understanding of truncus arteriosus and its management. This includes knowledge of the signs and symptoms of the condition, risk factors, diagnostic tests, treatment options, and nursing interventions. Mastery of this material will not only help students pass the NCLEX, but also prepare them for their future role as pediatric nurses.


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