The most well-known classification was the fourfold system developed by Collett and Edwards in 1949. Collett/Edwards Types I, II, and III are distinguished by the branching pattern of the pulmonary arteries:
Type I: truncus -> one pulmonary artery -> two lateral pulmonary arteries
Type II: truncus -> two posterior/posterolateral pulmonary arteries
Type III: truncus -> two lateral pulmonary arteries
The "Type IV" proposed in 1949 is no longer considered a form of PTA by most modern sources.
Another well-known classification was defined by Van Praaghs in 1965.
Most of the time, this defect occurs spontaneously. Genetic disorders, and teratogens (viruses, metabolic imbalance, and industrial or pharmacological agents) have been associated as possible causes. Up to 50% (varies in studies) of cases are associated with chromosome 22q11 deletions. The neural crest, specifically a population known as the cardiac neural crest, directly contributes to the aorticopulmonary septum.
Microablation of the cardiac neural crest in developing chick embryos and genetic anomalies affecting this population of cells in rodents results in persistent truncus arteriosus.
Treatment is with neonatal surgical repair. The ventricular septal defect is closed with a patch. The pulmonary arteries are then detached from the common artery (truncus arteriosus) and connected to the right ventricle using a tube (a conduit or tunnel).
^ Collett RW, Edwards JE: Persistent truncus arteriosus: a classification according to anatomic types. Surg Clin North Am 1949; 29: 1245-70.
^ abc eMedicine - Truncus Arteriosus : Article by Doff McElhinney, MD. Retrieved on 2007-11-04.
^ Van Praagh R, Van Praagh S (1965). "The anatomy of common aorticopulmonary trunk (truncus arteriosus communis) and its embryologic implications. A study of 57 necropsy cases". Am. J. Cardiol.16 (3): 406–25. PMID 5828135.
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^ Waller BR 3rd, McQuinn T, Phelps AL, Markwald RR, Lo CW, Thompson RP, Wessels A. (2000). "Conotruncal anomalies in the trisomy 16 mouse: an immunohistochemical analysis with emphasis on the involvement of the neural crest.". Anat. Rec.260 (3): 279-93. PMID 11066038.
^ Franz T. (1989). "Persistent truncus arteriosus in the Splotch mutant mouse.". Anat. Embryol. (Berlin).180 (5): 457-64. PMID 2619088.
^ Rodefeld M, Hanley F. "Neonatal truncus arteriosus repair: surgical techniques and clinical management.". Semin Thorac Cardiovasc Surg Pediatr Card Surg Annu5: 212-7. PMID 11994881.