Truncus Arteriosus (TA) is a congenital birth defect of the heart, in which only one vessel exits the heart instead of two. Recent studies have found that mothers who took antidepressants, SSRIs, and other medications during pregnancy are twice as likely to have a baby with a serious, life-threatening heart defect, such as TA.

Do I Have a Truncus Arteriosus Lawsuit? Collen A. Clark is a true advocate for his clients and is passionate about helping Texans that have been injured or wronged. If you or a loved one has given birth to a child with a birth defect after taking an SSRI, antidepressant, or other medication during pregnancy, you should contact our lawyers immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a Truncus Arteriosus lawsuit.

What drugs have been linked to Truncus Arteriosus?

Always talk to your doctor about the medications you are taking if you are pregnant, or thinking about becoming pregnant. Talk about any prescription drugs, over-the-counter pills, herbal supplements, dietary supplements, or others. Do not start or stop taking any medication without first consulting a physician.

SSRIs / Antidepressant Drugs: New research has found that women who take SSRI antidepressants during pregnancy are more than twice as likely to have a baby born with a serious congenital heart defect, including Truncus Arteriosus.

SSRIs and antidepressants include the following prescription medications:

Pain Medication / Cough Medicine: A publication in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology found that pregnant women who use some types of pain medication (or cough medicine) are more likely to have babies with cardiovascular birth defects.

These medications include:

  • Oxycontin
  • Oxycodone
  • Codeine
  • Some Cough Medication

Truncus Arteriosus Overview

Truncus Arteriosus (TA) is a rare type of birth defect affecting the heart, in which a single blood vessel exits the heart instead of two. In a normal heart, the pulmonary artery carries oxygen-poor blood to the lungs, and the aorta carries oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body. In a baby born with TA, however, there is only one vessel. As a result, oxygen-poor blood mixes with oxygen-rich blood, and this mixed blood is pumped into the body. If left untreated, TA will lead to death, usually within the first year of life. Complete surgical repair (the preferred treatment) usually brings good results.

There are several different types of TA, depending on the type of defect. In most cases, a baby born with TA will have one great vessel that leaves the heart and then branches into vessels to the lungs and body. The vessel has only one valve leading, and usually straddles the upper-right and upper-left chambers. Babies with TA often have a ventricular septal defect which is a hole on the upper part of the wall between the upper-left and upper-right heart chambers. This defect allows oxygen-poor blood to mix with oxygen-rich blood.

One of the biggest problems with TA is that the heart pumps too much blood into the lungs. This causes high blood pressure in the lungs, which damages the vessels and the delicate structures in the lungs (called “pulmonary hypertension”). Damage caused by high blood pressure in the lungs is usually permanent. Damage will also occur to the heart, because it must work harder to force blood into the lungs. The over-supply of blood in the lungs also causes fluid build-up, making it difficult to breathe.

Surgical repair is usually necessary shortly after birth to mitigate the damaging effects of pulmonary hypertension and poor circulation.

Signs & Symptoms of Truncus Arteriosus

TA belongs to the class of heart birth defects that result in low oxygen supply to the body, producing “Blue Baby Syndrome”, or “cyanosis.” This symptom usually appears minutes or hours after the baby’s birth, when the baby’s skin, nails, and lips turn blue. TA is not a problem for the baby while it is in the womb, because it receives oxygenated blood from the mother’s placenta. When the baby is born, however, its heart and lungs must supply oxygen and blood to its body.

Symptoms of TA include:

  • Bluish discoloration of skin
  • Poor feeding habits
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Poor growth
  • Dyspnea
  • Rapid breathing
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Excessive sweating

TA is often diagnosed when a doctor listen’s to the baby’s heart, and hears an abnormal sound, known as a “heart murmur.” TA may also be diagnosed when a physician performs an imaging scan of the baby, using a chest X-ray or echocardiogram.


The most serious complications occur because of the increased blood pressure in the lungs, known as “hypertension.”

  • Respiratory problems
  • Leaky heart valves
  • Arrhythmias
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Enlargement of the heart
  • Heart Failure
  • Death

Treatment & Prognosis

Though babies born with TA are candidates for cardiac transplant, this is a less-preferred option because of the limited availability of newborn hearts and the complications associated with transplants. Advances in modern surgical techniques have made surgical repair a viable option for most babies born with TA, though individuals will vary depending on the severity of the birth defect and other individual factors. Usually, surgery to repair TA involves a complete heart-lung bypass surgery, in which the pulmonary artery is separated from the TA defect, the ventricular septal defect is closed using a patch, and a connection is made between the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery using a new valve.

Survival rate for children who undergo this surgery is more than 90%, though there are often complications as the child grows older. The child will need to be monitored regularly by a pediatric cardiologist, and will need to undergo further surgeries to widen the conduit between the right and left ventricle as the heart grows larger. Often, when the child is 5 to 7 years of age, he or she will need a surgery to repair the truncal valve.

Do I Have a Truncus Arteriosus Lawsuit?

For a free consultation, please contact Collen A. Clark at The Clark Firm, LLP immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a Truncus Arteriosus lawsuit.

Collen’s amazing success in the courtroom and well known dedication to his clients has earned him the recognition of his peers as one of The Top Trial Lawyers in Texas.”

The Clark Firm has assembled a team of trial lawyers with more that 100 years experience, participation in over 600 jury trials and $60 million in verdicts and/or settlements. Please use the form below to contact us for a free Truncus Arteriosus birth defect lawsuit review.