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Total anomalous pulmonary vascular return

Updated : January 1, 2024





Background

Total anomalous pulmonary venous return (TAPVR), also known as total anomalous pulmonary venous connection (TAPVC), is a congenital heart defect where the pulmonary veins, which normally bring oxygenated blood from the lungs to the left atrium, do not connect properly to the left atrium. Instead, they connect to the right atrium or other veins, creating abnormal blood flow.

TAPVR occurs during fetal development when there is an abnormality in the formation of the heart and blood vessels. Normally, the pulmonary veins connect to the developing left atrium. However, in TAPVR, this connection is disrupted, leading to abnormal drainage. 

Epidemiology

Total anomalous pulmonary venous return (TAPVR) is a relatively rare congenital heart defect, accounting for approximately 1-2% of all congenital heart diseases. The exact prevalence can vary by geographic region and population. The incidence is reported to be around 1 in 10,000 live births.

It is less common compared to other congenital heart defects, such as ventricular septal defects and atrial septal defects. It does not show a significant gender preference, and it can affect both males and females equally. However, there may be some variations in prevalence among different racial and ethnic groups.

While TAPVR is generally considered a sporadic occurrence, there is evidence to suggest a genetic component in some cases. Families with a history of congenital heart defects may have a slightly higher risk of having a child with TAPVR. However, the majority of cases occur sporadically without a clear family history. 

Anatomy

Pathophysiology

The pathophysiology of Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR) involves an abnormality in the embryonic development of the heart, resulting in an atypical venous connection between the pulmonary veins and the heart chambers. In a normal heart, the pulmonary veins, responsible for carrying oxygenated blood from the lungs, connect to the left atrium, allowing the oxygen-rich blood to flow into the systemic circulation.

However, in TAPVR, there is a failure in the proper fusion of the pulmonary veins with the left atrium. Instead, the pulmonary veins abnormally connect to the right atrium or its tributaries. This malformation leads to a mixing of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood, impairing the efficient transport of oxygen to the body.

The degree of mixing and the specific anatomical connections influence the severity of symptoms. The resulting clinical presentation often includes cyanosis, as oxygen-poor blood is circulated to the body. This congenital heart defect can also be associated with other anomalies, further complicating the pathophysiological consequences.

Surgical correction is typically necessary to redirect the pulmonary veins to the left atrium, restoring normal blood flow and improving oxygenation. Early diagnosis and intervention are critical to prevent complications and optimize outcomes for individuals with TAPVR. 

Etiology

Genetic Factors: 

While TAPVR is often considered a sporadic occurrence, there is evidence suggesting a genetic predisposition in some cases. Families with a history of congenital heart defects may have a slightly higher risk of having a child with TAPVR. However, the majority of cases occur without a clear family history, indicating a multifactorial etiology.  

Environmental Factors: 

Certain environmental factors during pregnancy may play a role in the development of congenital heart defects, including TAPVR. Exposure to teratogenic agents or maternal illnesses during critical periods of embryonic development could potentially contribute to the malformation.  

Unknown Causes: 

In many cases, the exact cause of TAPVR remains unknown. It is likely that a combination of genetic and environmental factors, along with random chance, contributes to the development of this congenital heart defect. 

  

Genetics

Prognostic Factors

The prognosis for individuals with Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR) has improved significantly over the years, thanks to advances in medical and surgical interventions. Early diagnosis and prompt surgical correction are crucial factors influencing outcomes. The overall prognosis is generally favorable with appropriate and timely medical care. 

Clinical History

The clinical history of Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR) typically involves the prenatal period or early infancy. In many cases, TAPVR becomes apparent shortly after birth or during the neonatal period. Prenatal screening, including fetal echocardiography, may detect TAPVR in some cases, allowing for early diagnosis and planning.

The family history may be relevant, especially if there is a known association with congenital heart defects. The signs and symptoms of TAPVR are primarily related to the abnormal mixing of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood. Bluish discoloration of the skin and mucous membranes due to insufficient oxygenation of the blood.

Rapid breathing, labored breathing, or difficulty in maintaining adequate oxygen levels leads to increased respiratory effort. Infants with TAPVR may have difficulty feeding due to fatigue, respiratory distress, or inadequate oxygenation. Inability to gain weight and grow at a normal rate, often associated with the increased energy expenditure related to respiratory distress. Increased susceptibility to respiratory infections due to compromised respiratory function.  

Onset of Symptoms 

The onset of symptoms in TAPVR is typically early in life, often within the first days or weeks after birth. In some cases, if the anomaly is not severe, symptoms may become evident later in infancy or childhood. The duration of symptoms is variable and depends on factors such as the degree of pulmonary venous obstruction and the presence of associated anomalies. 

Without surgical correction, TAPVR can lead to significant morbidity and mortality. Early intervention is crucial to address the abnormal venous connections and restore normal blood flow. Surgical repair is often performed in the neonatal period to optimize outcomes and prevent complications associated with prolonged cyanosis and inadequate oxygenation. 

 

Physical Examination

Cyanosis: 

Central cyanosis, characterized by bluish discoloration of the skin, lips, and mucous membranes, is a hallmark finding. This is a result of oxygen-poor blood being circulated systemically.  

Respiratory Distress: 

Infants with TAPVR may exhibit signs of respiratory distress, including increased respiratory rate, retractions (visible sinking of the chest wall during inspiration), and the use of accessory muscles for breathing.  

Clubbing of Fingers and Toes: 

In chronic cases or cases with prolonged hypoxemia, clubbing may develop as a result of chronic inadequate oxygenation.  

Poor Peripheral Perfusion: 

Reduced perfusion to the extremities may result in cool or mottled skin.  

Hepatomegaly: 

The liver may be enlarged due to congestion caused by the abnormal blood flow.  

Cardiomegaly: 

Enlargement of the heart may be evident on chest X-rays or palpable during examination. Cardiomegaly is a result of increased blood volume and workload on the heart.  

Murmurs: 

Heart murmurs may be auscultated due to the abnormal blood flow patterns associated with TAPVR. The specific characteristics of the murmur can vary based on the type of TAPVR and the presence of associated cardiac anomalies.  

Bounding Pulses: 

Arterial pulses may feel strong and bounding due to the increased volume of blood ejected by the heart to compensate for the mixing of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood. 

 

Age group

Associated comorbidity

Associated activity

Acuity of presentation

Differential Diagnoses

  • Truncus Arteriosus 
  • Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn  
  • Atrial Septal Defect  
  • Ventricular Septal Defect  
  • Primary Pulmonary Hypertension 
  • Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome 
  • Double Outlet Right Ventricle 

Laboratory Studies

Imaging Studies

Procedures

Histologic Findings

Staging

Treatment Paradigm

The primary treatment for Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR) involves surgical intervention to correct the abnormal connections of the pulmonary veins. Early diagnosis is crucial, and the timing of surgery depends on the specific type of TAPVR, the severity of symptoms, and the overall health of the individual. The surgical procedure aims to redirect the pulmonary veins to the left atrium, eliminating the abnormal blood flow and restoring proper oxygenation.

In some cases, a temporary intervention called balloon atrial septostomy may be performed before surgery to alleviate cyanosis temporarily. Following surgical correction, individuals require intensive postoperative care, including monitoring of cardiac function and respiratory status. Medications may be administered to support the heart, and long-term follow-up with a cardiologist is essential to assess cardiac health and detect potential complications.

Genetic counseling may be recommended for cases with a known genetic component or family history of congenital heart defects to provide information about the risk of recurrence in future pregnancies. The prognosis for individuals with TAPVR has improved significantly with advances in surgical techniques and medical care, emphasizing the importance of early intervention for optimal outcomes. 

 

by Stage

by Modality

Chemotherapy

Radiation Therapy

Surgical Interventions

Early surgical correction is typically recommended for individuals with TAPVR. The surgical procedure involves redirecting the pulmonary veins to the left atrium, creating a normal connection. The specific surgical technique may vary based on the type of TAPVR and the individual’s anatomy. Surgical repair aims to eliminate the mixing of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood, improving overall oxygenation and preventing complications associated with inadequate blood flow.  

Balloon Atrial Septostomy (BAS)  

In some cases, a temporary intervention called balloon atrial septostomy may be performed before the definitive surgical repair. This involves using a catheter with an inflated balloon to enlarge an opening in the atrial septum, allowing for improved mixing of blood and alleviating cyanosis temporarily.

BAS may be considered when immediate surgical correction is not feasible, providing a bridge to more definitive treatment. Following surgical repair, individuals with TAPVR require postoperative care and monitoring in the intensive care unit. The recovery period involves close observation of cardiac function, respiratory status, and overall well-being. Medications may be administered to support cardiac function and prevent complications. 

 

Hormone Therapy

Immunotherapy

Hyperthermia

Photodynamic Therapy

Stem Cell Transplant

Targeted Therapy

Palliative Care

Medication

Media Gallary

References

Total anomalous pulmonary vascular return

Updated : January 1, 2024




Total anomalous pulmonary venous return (TAPVR), also known as total anomalous pulmonary venous connection (TAPVC), is a congenital heart defect where the pulmonary veins, which normally bring oxygenated blood from the lungs to the left atrium, do not connect properly to the left atrium. Instead, they connect to the right atrium or other veins, creating abnormal blood flow.

TAPVR occurs during fetal development when there is an abnormality in the formation of the heart and blood vessels. Normally, the pulmonary veins connect to the developing left atrium. However, in TAPVR, this connection is disrupted, leading to abnormal drainage. 

Total anomalous pulmonary venous return (TAPVR) is a relatively rare congenital heart defect, accounting for approximately 1-2% of all congenital heart diseases. The exact prevalence can vary by geographic region and population. The incidence is reported to be around 1 in 10,000 live births.

It is less common compared to other congenital heart defects, such as ventricular septal defects and atrial septal defects. It does not show a significant gender preference, and it can affect both males and females equally. However, there may be some variations in prevalence among different racial and ethnic groups.

While TAPVR is generally considered a sporadic occurrence, there is evidence to suggest a genetic component in some cases. Families with a history of congenital heart defects may have a slightly higher risk of having a child with TAPVR. However, the majority of cases occur sporadically without a clear family history. 

The pathophysiology of Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR) involves an abnormality in the embryonic development of the heart, resulting in an atypical venous connection between the pulmonary veins and the heart chambers. In a normal heart, the pulmonary veins, responsible for carrying oxygenated blood from the lungs, connect to the left atrium, allowing the oxygen-rich blood to flow into the systemic circulation.

However, in TAPVR, there is a failure in the proper fusion of the pulmonary veins with the left atrium. Instead, the pulmonary veins abnormally connect to the right atrium or its tributaries. This malformation leads to a mixing of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood, impairing the efficient transport of oxygen to the body.

The degree of mixing and the specific anatomical connections influence the severity of symptoms. The resulting clinical presentation often includes cyanosis, as oxygen-poor blood is circulated to the body. This congenital heart defect can also be associated with other anomalies, further complicating the pathophysiological consequences.

Surgical correction is typically necessary to redirect the pulmonary veins to the left atrium, restoring normal blood flow and improving oxygenation. Early diagnosis and intervention are critical to prevent complications and optimize outcomes for individuals with TAPVR. 

Genetic Factors: 

While TAPVR is often considered a sporadic occurrence, there is evidence suggesting a genetic predisposition in some cases. Families with a history of congenital heart defects may have a slightly higher risk of having a child with TAPVR. However, the majority of cases occur without a clear family history, indicating a multifactorial etiology.  

Environmental Factors: 

Certain environmental factors during pregnancy may play a role in the development of congenital heart defects, including TAPVR. Exposure to teratogenic agents or maternal illnesses during critical periods of embryonic development could potentially contribute to the malformation.  

Unknown Causes: 

In many cases, the exact cause of TAPVR remains unknown. It is likely that a combination of genetic and environmental factors, along with random chance, contributes to the development of this congenital heart defect. 

  

The prognosis for individuals with Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR) has improved significantly over the years, thanks to advances in medical and surgical interventions. Early diagnosis and prompt surgical correction are crucial factors influencing outcomes. The overall prognosis is generally favorable with appropriate and timely medical care. 

The clinical history of Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR) typically involves the prenatal period or early infancy. In many cases, TAPVR becomes apparent shortly after birth or during the neonatal period. Prenatal screening, including fetal echocardiography, may detect TAPVR in some cases, allowing for early diagnosis and planning.

The family history may be relevant, especially if there is a known association with congenital heart defects. The signs and symptoms of TAPVR are primarily related to the abnormal mixing of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood. Bluish discoloration of the skin and mucous membranes due to insufficient oxygenation of the blood.

Rapid breathing, labored breathing, or difficulty in maintaining adequate oxygen levels leads to increased respiratory effort. Infants with TAPVR may have difficulty feeding due to fatigue, respiratory distress, or inadequate oxygenation. Inability to gain weight and grow at a normal rate, often associated with the increased energy expenditure related to respiratory distress. Increased susceptibility to respiratory infections due to compromised respiratory function.  

Onset of Symptoms 

The onset of symptoms in TAPVR is typically early in life, often within the first days or weeks after birth. In some cases, if the anomaly is not severe, symptoms may become evident later in infancy or childhood. The duration of symptoms is variable and depends on factors such as the degree of pulmonary venous obstruction and the presence of associated anomalies. 

Without surgical correction, TAPVR can lead to significant morbidity and mortality. Early intervention is crucial to address the abnormal venous connections and restore normal blood flow. Surgical repair is often performed in the neonatal period to optimize outcomes and prevent complications associated with prolonged cyanosis and inadequate oxygenation. 

 

Cyanosis: 

Central cyanosis, characterized by bluish discoloration of the skin, lips, and mucous membranes, is a hallmark finding. This is a result of oxygen-poor blood being circulated systemically.  

Respiratory Distress: 

Infants with TAPVR may exhibit signs of respiratory distress, including increased respiratory rate, retractions (visible sinking of the chest wall during inspiration), and the use of accessory muscles for breathing.  

Clubbing of Fingers and Toes: 

In chronic cases or cases with prolonged hypoxemia, clubbing may develop as a result of chronic inadequate oxygenation.  

Poor Peripheral Perfusion: 

Reduced perfusion to the extremities may result in cool or mottled skin.  

Hepatomegaly: 

The liver may be enlarged due to congestion caused by the abnormal blood flow.  

Cardiomegaly: 

Enlargement of the heart may be evident on chest X-rays or palpable during examination. Cardiomegaly is a result of increased blood volume and workload on the heart.  

Murmurs: 

Heart murmurs may be auscultated due to the abnormal blood flow patterns associated with TAPVR. The specific characteristics of the murmur can vary based on the type of TAPVR and the presence of associated cardiac anomalies.  

Bounding Pulses: 

Arterial pulses may feel strong and bounding due to the increased volume of blood ejected by the heart to compensate for the mixing of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood. 

 

  • Truncus Arteriosus 
  • Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn  
  • Atrial Septal Defect  
  • Ventricular Septal Defect  
  • Primary Pulmonary Hypertension 
  • Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome 
  • Double Outlet Right Ventricle 

The primary treatment for Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR) involves surgical intervention to correct the abnormal connections of the pulmonary veins. Early diagnosis is crucial, and the timing of surgery depends on the specific type of TAPVR, the severity of symptoms, and the overall health of the individual. The surgical procedure aims to redirect the pulmonary veins to the left atrium, eliminating the abnormal blood flow and restoring proper oxygenation.

In some cases, a temporary intervention called balloon atrial septostomy may be performed before surgery to alleviate cyanosis temporarily. Following surgical correction, individuals require intensive postoperative care, including monitoring of cardiac function and respiratory status. Medications may be administered to support the heart, and long-term follow-up with a cardiologist is essential to assess cardiac health and detect potential complications.

Genetic counseling may be recommended for cases with a known genetic component or family history of congenital heart defects to provide information about the risk of recurrence in future pregnancies. The prognosis for individuals with TAPVR has improved significantly with advances in surgical techniques and medical care, emphasizing the importance of early intervention for optimal outcomes. 

 

Early surgical correction is typically recommended for individuals with TAPVR. The surgical procedure involves redirecting the pulmonary veins to the left atrium, creating a normal connection. The specific surgical technique may vary based on the type of TAPVR and the individual’s anatomy. Surgical repair aims to eliminate the mixing of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood, improving overall oxygenation and preventing complications associated with inadequate blood flow.  

Balloon Atrial Septostomy (BAS)  

In some cases, a temporary intervention called balloon atrial septostomy may be performed before the definitive surgical repair. This involves using a catheter with an inflated balloon to enlarge an opening in the atrial septum, allowing for improved mixing of blood and alleviating cyanosis temporarily.

BAS may be considered when immediate surgical correction is not feasible, providing a bridge to more definitive treatment. Following surgical repair, individuals with TAPVR require postoperative care and monitoring in the intensive care unit. The recovery period involves close observation of cardiac function, respiratory status, and overall well-being. Medications may be administered to support cardiac function and prevent complications. 

 

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