What is atrioventricular septal defect?
Atrioventricular septal defect (AVSD) is a combination of heart problems that affect the walls between the chambers of the heart and the valves between the upper and lower heart chambers. It is also called atrioventricular canal defect. The condition is congenital, which means a baby is born with it. If not treated, AVSD can cause many problems involving the heart and lungs.
The combination of defects includes:
- Atrial septal defect (ASD): a hole in the wall that separates the two upper heart chambers (atria).
- Ventricular septal defect (VSD): a hole in the wall that separates the two lower heart chambers (ventricles).
- Abnormalities of the mitral and tricuspid valves: when these valves are not formed correctly, they allow blood to flow backwards instead of being pumped forward out of the heart.
Symptoms of AVSD can include:
- poor feeding or poor weight gain
- rapid, congested or heavy breathing
- pale or cool skin
- rapid heart rate
- bluish color to the skin
- heart murmur
To help diagnose AVSD, your child’s doctor may order one or more of the following tests:
- echocardiogram (cardiac ultrasound)
- electrocardiogram (EKG)
- cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- chest x-ray
- cardiac catheterization
AVSD is almost always treated with surgery. Some children may benefit from medications until they are able to have surgery.
Learn more about Pediatric Cardiology services at Boston Children’s Health Physicians.
Our second opinions bring peace of mind
Getting a second opinion from one of our clinicians will give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your child’s health is in expert hands. Simply call 844-463-2247 to make an appointment with one of our specialists.