Risk factorsBy Mayo Clinic staff
While the exact cause of congenital heart defects, such as truncus arteriosus, is unknown, several factors may increase the risk of a baby being born with a heart condition. These include:
- Viral illness during pregnancy. If a woman contracts rubella (German measles) or another viral illness during early pregnancy, the risk of congenital heart defects in her baby is increased.
- Poorly controlled diabetes during pregnancy. Diabetes that isn't well-managed can increase the risk of birth defects, including heart defects.
- Certain medications taken during pregnancy. Many medications aren't recommended for use during pregnancy because of potential risks to the fetus.
- Certain chromosomal disorders. Children with DiGeorge's syndrome or velocardiofacial syndrome have an increased risk of truncus arteriosus. These conditions are caused by an extra or defective chromosome.
- Smoking during pregnancy. Continuing to smoke while pregnant increases the risk that the baby will be born with a heart defect.
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- What are congenital heart defects? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/chd/printall-index.html. Accessed Sept. 5, 2012.
- Truncus arteriosus. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/CongenitalHeartDefects/AboutCongenitalHeartDefects/Truncus-Arteriosus_UCM_307040_Article.jsp. Accessed Sept. 5. 2012.
- Congenital heart defects. March of Dimes. http://www.marchofdimes.com/baby/birthdefects_congenitalheart.html. Accessed Sept. 9, 2012.
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