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Atrioventricular septal defect

Last revised by Assoc Prof Craig Hacking on 13 Sep 2021

Atrioventricular septal defects (AVSDs), also known as atrioventricular canal defects or endocardial cushion defects, comprise a relatively wide range of defects involving the atrial septum, ventricular septum, and one or both of the tricuspid or mitral valve. They can represent 2-7% of congenital heart defects

The estimated prevalence is at ~3-4 in 10,000 births.

It results from deficient development of the apical portion of the atrial septum, basal portion of the interventricular septum, as well as atrioventricular valves. All four chambers of the heart communicate therefore both left to right and right to left shunts can occur.

Many have been used but can be broadly divided into:

  • complete 
  • incomplete 

An AVSD may also be balanced or unbalanced 8.

Plain chest radiographic features are often not specific but may show have cardiomegaly +/- features of pulmonary hypertension and mitral valve insufficiency.

Allows direct visualization of the defect spectrum and often a large defect of the midline heart structures are seen. Color Doppler often aids in further visualization of the central opening.

An AVSD can give a classical "Gooseneck" sign on a lateral left ventricular angiogram 3.

Allows direct visualization of defect spectrum. Can be superior in assessing cardiac chamber dimensions and to assess the presence/extent of ventricular hypoplasia which is a determinant of surgical risk.

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Cases and figures

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  • Case 2
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  • Case 3
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  •  Case 4
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  • Ostium primum ASD - fetal echocardiography
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