• Atrioventricular Canal Defect—Child

    (AV Canal Defect—Child; Complete AV Canal—Child; Complete Common AV Canal—Child; Endocardial Cushion Defect—Child)

    Definition

    The heart is made up of four different chambers, two atria and two ventricles. Usually blood flows from the right atrium to the right ventricle and then to the lungs. Here the blood receives oxygen. The oxygenated blood comes back to the left atrium and moves down to the left ventricle, where it is pumped out to the body.
    Heart Chambers and Valves
    heart anatomy
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
    Blood Flow Through the Heart
    IMAGE
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
    An atrioventricular (AV) canal defect is a rare heart defect. There is a large hole in the center of the heart that connects all four chambers. This allows blood to mix from all the chambers.
    Instead of valves that separate the atria from the ventricles, one large valve forms. Other abnormalities may also be present.

    Causes

    AV canal defect is a congenital defect. This means that the baby is born with it. It is not known exactly why some babies’ hearts develop abnormally.

    Risk Factors

    Risk factors for congenital heart defects include:
    • Family history of congenital heart defect
    • The child has certain chromosomal disorders
    • Previous pregnancy with fetal heart abnormalities or miscarriage
    • Conditions during pregnancy, such as:
      • Being infected with a virus
      • Having poorly controlled diabetes
      • Drinking alcohol
      • Taking certain medicines

    Symptoms

    Symptoms may include:
    • Fast breathing
    • Poor feeding
    • Slow growth
    • Bluish skin color
    • Fatigue
    • Irritability
    • Lowered alertness
    • Wheezing
    • Swelling of the legs, ankles, and feet
    • Sweating
    • Fast heart beat
    • Sudden weight gain from retained fluid
    This condition can lead to heart failure . If your child has any of these symptoms, get medical care right away.

    Diagnosis

    The doctor will ask about your child’s symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Tests may include:
    • Echocardiogram —an imaging test that uses sound waves to look at the size, shape, and motion of the heart
    • Cardiac catheterization —a test that uses a catheter (tube) and x-ray machine to assess the heart and its blood supply

    Treatment

    Talk with the doctor about the best treatment plan for your child. Treatment options include:

    Surgery

    Surgery is usually recommended to correct the defect. The goal of surgery is to close the hole with a patch. The large valve is separated into two valves. If the valve cannot be repaired, heart valve replacement surgery may need to be done.

    Lifelong Monitoring

    After surgery, your child will need to have regular visits with a heart doctor. The doctor may recommend that your child:
    • Makes lifestyle changes, including limiting certain activities
    • Takes medicines to treat symptoms after surgery
    • Takes antibiotics before medical or dental procedures

    Prevention

    Atrioventricular canal defects usually cannot be prevented. Getting proper prenatal care is always important.

    RESOURCES

    American Family Physician http://www.aafp.org/

    American Heart Association http://www.americanheart.org/

    CANADIAN RESOURCES

    Canadian Cardiovascular Society http://www.ccs.ca/

    Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada http://ww2.heartandstroke.ca/splash/

    References

    American Heart Association. Atrioventricular canal defect. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=132 . Accessed July 14, 2010.

    Mayo Clinic. Atrioventricular canal defect. Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/atrioventricular-canal-defect/DS00745/DSECTION=risk-factors . Accessed July 7, 2010.

    Revision Information

  • Join WellZones today.

    Make a Change For LifeLearn more

    Wellmont LiveWell is creating a new tradition of wellness in the mountains by providing individuals with tools and encouragement to live healthier lifestyles.

  • HeartSHAPE Spotlight

    HeartSHAPE® Test Learn more

    Fight heart disease early and prevent heart attacks with HeartSHAPE® - a painless, non-invasive test that takes pictures of your heart to scan for early-stage coronary disease.

  • Calories and Energy Needs

    Calorie NeedsLearn more

    How many calories do you need to eat each day to maintain your weight and fuel your physical activity? Enter a few of your stats into this calculator to find out.

  • Ideal Body Weight

    Ideal Body WeightLearn more

    Using body mass index as a reference, this calculator determines your ideal body weight range. All you need to do is enter your height.

  • Body Mass Index

    Body Mass IndexLearn more

    This tool considers your height and weight to assess your weight status.


  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.