• The Heart House

Common Atrioventricular Canal

(Endocardial Cushion Defect)

This defect involves a hole between the two atriums called a Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) and a hole between the two ventricles called a Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD).

There is a common opening between all the chambers of the heart. As a result, the wall that was separating the Mitral Valve and the Tricuspid Valve which usually looks like a cross is missing.

The blood enters the Left and Right Atrium and mixes across the Atrial Septal Defect. The blood then goes through a common valve to the ventricles and then mixes again across the Ventricular Septal Defect.


There will be overflowing of the blood to the lungs because now they are exposed to a high flow system through the opening between the two ventricles (VSD).

The baby will have Congestive Heart Failure symptoms such as: rapid breathing, excessive sweating, tiring with feedings, and poor sucking. He most likely will be unable to grow.


As a temporary fix your doctor will treat your baby with medications such as Lasix which will take away the excessive fluid in the lungs so your baby can breathe easier.

If this condition is left untreated for months the excessive flow to the lungs may start affecting the pressure in the arteries and this may produce a dangerous condition called Pulmonary Hypertension. This means the pressure in the Pulmonary Arteries is high. When this condition is present doctors may sadly not be able to fix your child's heart.

Before this happens, your child should undergo surgery which sometimes includes a temporary operation called Pulmonary Artery Band.

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Children's Heart Institute

P. O. Box 10066 McLean, VA 22102

Central Registration (patient appointments):

phone - 703-481-5801

Billing Inquiries:

phone - 571-612-2600 / fax - 571-266-4096