Cardiovascular shunts

Dr Owen Kang and Dr Henry Knipe et al.

Cardiovascular (cardiac) shunts are abnormal connections between the pulmonary and systemic circulations. Most commonly they are the result of congenital heart disease.

Blood can either be shunted from the systemic circulation to pulmonary circulation (left-to-right shunt) or between the pulmonary circulation and systemic circulation (right-to-left shunt).

Left-to-right shunt

In a left-to-right shunt oxygenated blood flows directly from the systemic circulation to the pulmonary circulation, which results in decreased tissue oxygenation through reduced cardiac output. Causes include:

Right-to-left shunt

In a right-to-left shunt deoxygenated blood flows directly from the pulmonary circulation to the systemic circulation, decreasing tissue oxygenation by reducing the oxygen content of systemic arterial blood. Causes include:

Imaging findings vary depending on the underlying aetiology, please see articles listed above for further details.


Congenital heart disease

There is more than one way to present the variety of congenital heart diseases. Whichever way they are categorised, it is helpful to have a working understanding of normal and fetal circulation, as well as an understanding of the segmental approach to imaging in congenital heart disease.

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Article Information

rID: 35303
System: Cardiac
Section: Gamuts
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Cardiac shunts
  • Cardiac shunting
  • Cardiovascular shunt
  • Cardiac shunt

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Cases and Figures

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    Case 1: PAPVR
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    Case 2: ASD
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    Case 3: pulmonary AVM
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