A baby with truncus arteriosus usually begins to have problems in the first week of life. His or her oxygen levels are often slightly lower than normal, resulting in cyanosis.
Because of the excessive amount of blood flow to the lungs with this anomaly, congestive heart failure (CHF) develops in the first week or two of life. On chest X-ray, the heart looks big and the lung fields look hazy, indicating pulmonary overcirculation.
Signs of congestive heart failure are rapid breathing, shortness of breath, wheezing, grunting or very noisy breathing, nasal flaring, retractions, and restlessness.
The liver may be large due to a backup of blood or systemic congestion. Neck vein distention, poor feeding, and facial swelling are also seen.
Most often parents report rapid breathing, poor feeding, and a bluish color of the skin, especially around the mouth and nose. The signs and symptoms often increase when the infant eats.