An atrioventricular canal defect is a heart condition that is present at birth due to abnormal development of the fetal heart during pregnancy. AVC involves several defects of structures inside the heart, including:
- Atrial septal defect: An ASD is a hole in the wall between the two upper chambers of the heart called the right and left atria.
- Ventricular septal defect: A VSD is a hole in the wall between the two lower chambers of the heart called the right and left ventricles.
- Improperly formed mitral and/or tricuspid valves: The valves that separate the atria from the ventricles are improperly formed.
What are the signs/symptoms of AVC?
- Pale skin
- Difficulty breathing (rapid, heavy or congested)
- Poor weight gain
- Disinterest in feeding
How is an Atrioventricular Canal Defect diagnosed?
An AVC may be discovered during your child’s physical exam, while a pediatrician is listening to his/her heart. If a murmur (an abnormal heart sound) is detected, your child will be referred to a pediatric cardiologist for a diagnosis. Tests that a pediatric cardiologist may recommend include:
- Chest X-ray
- Echocardiogram (ECHO): A fetal echo is an ultrasound of your baby’s heart. A fetal echo checks your baby’s heart structure, rhythm, and function as well as the growth and development of your baby.
- Electrocardiogram (ECG): An electrocardiogram checks for problems with the electrical activity of the heart
- Cardiac catheterization: A minimally invasive procedure that provides comprehensive information about the structures inside the heart.
Treatment for Atrioventricular Canal Defect
An AVC is treated with surgical repair. The goal is to repair the septal openings and the valves.