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.
We analysed the incidence and spectrum of congenital heart disease (CHD) in the Sultanate of Oman from 1994 to 1996. CHD was detected in 992 of 139,707 live births (incidence 7.1/1000 live births). The common CHDs were ventricular septal defect (24.9%), atrial septal defect (14.4%) and patent ductus arteriosus (10.3%). The frequency of atrioventricular septal defects (5.9%) was higher than reported from other countries. Age at diagnosis was under 1 month in 38% and 1-12 months in 40%. Cyanotic CHD was found in 21.7% of the whole group and 35% of neonates.
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).