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The proper development of the atrioventricular canal into its prospective components (The heart septum and associated valves) to create a clear division between the four compartments of the heart and ensure proper blood movement through the heart, are essential for proper heart function. When this process does not happen correctly, a child will develop atrioventricular canal defect which occurs in 2 out of every 10,000 births. It also has a correlation with Down Syndrome because 20% of children with Down Syndrome suffer from atrioventricular canal disease as well. This is a very serious condition and surgery is necessary within the first six months of life for a child. [1] Half of the children who are untreated with this condition die during their first year due to heart failure or pneumonia.[2]

Atrioventricular canal defect is a combination of abnormalities of the heart and is present at birth. There is a problem when there are holes present in the walls that separate chambers (septa),as well as when valves are incorrectly constructed. There are other names for these heart abnormalities such as endocardial cushion defects or atrioventricular septal defect[3]


A photo of the basic anatomical structures of the heart. During normal heart development all four chambers are separated and the mitral and tricupsid valves are properly developed.

In a normal healthy heart there are four chambers. This consists of right and left atria, and right and left ventricles. The right atrium and right ventricle function to pump blood to the lungs while the left atrium and left ventricle pump blood to the rest of the body. There are valves in place that inhibit back-flow between these chambers.[3]

Clinical relevance[edit]

Atrioventricular canal defect[edit]

This is an echocardiography of "Complete" Atriventricular Canal Disorder. There is a clear absence of lower septum that would separate all four chambers of the heart

This defect is developed because of the improper formation of the endocardial cushions, and their job is to separate the different parts of the heart during development when they fuse. It is strongly associated with Down's syndrome. The structures that develop from the fusion of the endocardial cushions are:

Atrioventricular canal defect may be divided into partial or complete forms. In the partial form, openings between the left and right atria and improper formation of the mitral valve exist. In the complete form, there is free movement in all chambers because there is a large hole where the atria and ventricles meet, and instead of there being two valves there is one common valve. [3]

Surgery is usually conducted in-between the 3rd and 6th month of life, and with this condition the earlier the better. Usually, intracardiac repair is completed which is when they close the holes in the septum and they make two new atrioventricular valves that is available from the underdeveloped common valve leaflet.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Brown, David MD "Atrioventricular Canal Defect" Children's Hospital Boston 20120 http://www.childrenshospital.org/az/Site521/mainpageS521P0.html
  2. ^ a b Calabro, Raffaele & Limongelli, Giuseppe "Complete Atrioventricular Canal" 2006 April 5, US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1459121/
  3. ^ a b c Mayo Clinic September 12, 2012"Atrioventricular Canal Defect" http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/atrioventricular-canal-defect/DS00745
  4. ^ Cincinnati Children's Hospital "Atrioventricular Septal Defect" April 2010 http://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/health/a/avsd/

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4 news items

Colorado Springs Gazette
Mon, 08 Sep 2014 03:27:11 -0700

On "Love for Luna Day," all four Dutch Bros. locations in the Springs donated $2 from the sale of every drink to Jessica DePoy and Dan Morris, longtime customers whose daughter Luna was born with atrioventricular canal defect, a combination of ...
Colorado Springs Gazette
Mon, 25 Aug 2014 03:26:21 -0700

Coffee locations will donate $2 from the sale of every drink to support the family of Luna, born with a heart condition called atrioventricular canal defect, a combination of abnormalities present at birth that impact the function of the chambers of ...
The Express-Times - lehighvalleylive.com
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 04:45:20 -0700

Aubrey was diagnosed with an atrioventricular canal defect when she was 3 days old and had heart surgery at 2 months. Brielle's defect was spotted during a fetal echocardiogram and she had surgery at 15 months. Reichard-Huff and husband Dan Huff were ...
The New Indian Express
Thu, 28 Aug 2014 17:56:15 -0700

Atrioventricular canal defects occur in 2 of every 10,000 births and needs surgery to save the child. Blood low on oxygen is usually brought to the heart via one vessel, while oxygen-rich blood exits the heart via the aorta in normal bodies. But with ...

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