Atrioventricular canal defect is a combination of heart problems resulting in a defect in the center of the heart. The condition occurs when there's a hole between the heart's chambers and problems with the valves that regulate blood flow in the heart. The condition is often associated with Down syndrome. Atrioventricular canal defect allows extra blood to flow to the lungs. Untreated, atrioventricular canal defect can cause heart failure and high blood pressure in the lungs.
The most common heart diseases were atrial septal defect in 254 patients (42.1%); total atrioventricular septal defect in 91 (15.1%); atrial septal defect and ventricular septal defect in 88 (14.6%); ventricular septal defect in 77 (12.7%); patent ductus arteriosus in 40 (6.6%); patent foramen ovale in 34 (5.6%) patients; tetralogy of Fallot in 12 (2%); and other diseases in 8 (1.3%). Pulmonary hypertension was present in 57 (9.4%). Out of the total, 150 patients (24.8%) underwent cardiac surgery.
Patients with incomplete atrioventricular septal defects (AVSDs) present with signs and symptoms similar to those of secundum atrial septal defects (ASDs) and, as such, rarely require medical therapy. Medical therapy in patients with complete atrioventricular septal defects consists of aggressive anticongestive treatment for the signs and symptoms of congestive heart failure (CHF). The mainstays of medical therapy are furosemide (for diuresis for the volume-overloaded heart), digoxin (as a mild inotrope), and ACE inhibitors (for afterload reduction).