Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return

Also known as: TAPVR

What is Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return?

Ordinarily, oxygen-rich blood in the body enters the heart from the lungs  through a series of four veins that feed into the left atrium ( the heart’s left upper chamber )  of the heart. With total anomalous pulmonary venous return, however, these veins from the lungs connect to other veins which eventually drain into the other upper chamber of the heart ( the right atrium ). The result is that the heart overworks and the  body does not get the blood ( and the amount of blood with oxygen )  that it needs. The condition can be quite deadly in many instances.

What causes total anomalous pulmonary venous return?

Total anomalous pulmonary venous return is a defect that babies are born with (congenital birth defect). It is often present with other heart problems. The exact cause is not known.

What are the symptoms of total anomalous pulmonary venous return?

Babies with total anomalous pulmonary venous return will have a blue or purple tint to their lips, skin & nails, breath hard and rapidly especially when feeding and fatigue easily.

What are total anomalous pulmonary venous return care options?

Surgery is always required to repair this defect, critically ill babies will need it immediately; others as soon as possible.


Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: September 09, 2019 12:20 PM

Learn more about

Cyanotic Heart Disease

Cyanotic heart disease refers to a group of congenital heart defects in babies that present with a characteristic blue color of the skin Learn more

PAPVR Repair

Pulmonary veins are blood vessels that deliver oxygenated blood from the lungs into the left side of the heart. Partial anomalous pulmonary venous return (PAPVR) is a heart defect that is sometimes present at birth, in which one or two of the pulmonary veins of the heart drain blood into the right atrium instead of the left atrium. This causes the oxygen-rich blood to flow back to the lungs instead of the rest of the body, which can cause a number of complications. Learn more