How Is Tricuspid Atresia Treated?
In the case of a very blue baby immediately after birth, prostaglandin is used to keep the ductus arteriosus open. Later, a shunt between the aorta and the pulmonary artery is placed during a surgical operation known as a Blalock-Thomas-Taussig shunt or BTT shunt. The shunt (or tube) takes the place of the ductus arteriosus, but cannot grow since it is usually made of synthetic material. Therefore, as the child grows, the shunt cannot supply enough blood to the lungs, and the child becomes more cyanotic. Therefore, other surgeries such as a Glenn procedure are needed to get more blood to the lungs to pick up oxygen and decrease the cyanosis.
Some children with tricuspid atresia have too much blood flowing to the lungs because of a large hole between the ventricles and a large pulmonary artery. They may need a procedure known as pulmonary artery banding or PA banding, which is like a noose around the pulmonary artery to constrict or reduce blood flow to the lungs. Eventually, children with tricuspid atresia may have a more functional repair (the Fontan procedure).
The risks of open-heart surgery always include bleeding, infection and the need for cardiopulmonary bypass. Depending on the type of surgery, special risks of injury to surrounding structures may occur.