What is endocardial cushion defect?

Also known as: ECD, atrioventricular canal defect, atrioventricular septal defect.

An endocardial cushion defect is a congenital (before birth) abnormality of the heart where the central part of the heart that normally divides it into four chambers is defective.

As the heart develops in the unborn fetus, the cushions typically develops into the walls and valves that divide the heart into four chambers (left atrium, separated from the left ventricle by the mitral valve; right atrium separated from the right ventricle by the tricuspid valve. All chambers separated by a wall of tissue called the septum). With an endocardial cushion defect, (which may be partial or complete) the walls and chambers do not fully develop, and blood can flow freely between these areas.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 1/29/2019 3:21:13 PM

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