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Aortopulmonary Window

  • An aortopulmonary window is a rare heart defect in which there is a hole between the major blood vessel feeding the heart (the aorta) and the one going to the lungs (pulmonary artery). The condition is congenital, which means it is present at birth.

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    Heart Center
    Boston Children's Hospital

    300 Longwood Avenue
    Boston, MA 02115
    617-355-4278

  • What problems does an aortopulmonary window cause?

    In a normal functioning heart, blood flows through the pulmonary artery into the lungs, where it picks up oxygen. Then the blood travels back to the heart and the aorta pumps it to the rest of the body.

    A baby with an aortopulmonary window has a hole in between her aorta and pulmonary artery. Because of this hole, blood from the aorta rushes into the pulmonary artery and too much blood flows through the lungs.

    This can cause high blood pressure in the lungs (pulmonary hypertension) and heart failure.

    Who is at risk for getting an aortopulmonary window?

    The condition is very rare. It accounts for only .1 percent of all congenital heart defects.

    What are the symptoms of aortopulmonary window?

    Babies with an aortopulmonary window generally don’t feed well, are irritable and tire easily. Other symptoms include:

  • Can an aortopulmonary window be fixed?

    Yes. Usually, the hole between the aorta and the pulmonary artery is closed with a patch. This surgery is normally done as soon as possible after the diagnosis is made, usually when the child is a newborn.

    What is the long-term outlook for a baby with an aortopulmonary window?

    Surgery to fix an aortopulmonary window is successful in most cases, if the defect is treated quickly.

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