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.
Since a large number of such defects are critical, leading to death in early life itself, the studies on school children have limited value. Going by the crude birth rate of 27.2/1000 (2001 Census data)(10), the total live births are estimated at nearly 28 million per year. With a believed incidence rate of 6-8 per 1000 live births; nearly 180,000 children are born with heart defects each year in India. Of these, nearly 60,000 to 90,000 suffer from critical cardiac lesions requiring early intervention
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).