Complete Atrio-ventricular AV Septal Defect

  • (Also called 'AV Canal')

    A large defect involving both the atrial (ASD) and the ventricular (VSD) septums allows blood to pass freely between the two ventricles and the atriums. The valve apparatus at the junction between atriums and ventricles is "shared" - there being effectively only one valve instead of the normal two. Blood flow and pressure in the lung circulation is substantially increased. This often results in early onset of symptoms with breathlessness, poor feeding and slow weight gain. This defect is very common in babies with Down syndrome.

    This is a more severe form of a "Primum" ASD ("Partial AV septal defect").

    Repair of this type of defect is usually performed in the first 3 to 6 months of life. It involves surgery, as these defects cannot be closed by a Catheter Procedure.  Two patches are usually sewn in to close the ASD and the VSD. The shared valve is divided into two separate valves, one for each ventricle.

    The valves (especially the Mitral Valve) may continue to leak after surgery, but in most cases this does not require further surgery during childhood.