Isolated Ventricular Septal Defect of the Persistent Common Atrioventricular Canal Type
Among 60 necropsy specimens of isolated ventricular septal defects and more than 300 cases of ventricular septal defect observed at operation, 15 cases demonstrating unusual anatomic positions of the defect were found. The ventricular defect differed from the ordinary ventricular septal defect in that it usually occupied the position of the ventricular component of the defect in persistent common atrioventricular canal. For this reason it was named ventricular septal defect of the persistent common atrioventricular canal type.
Deformities of one or both atrioventricular valves were common (nine of 15 cases). No atrial septal defects of the ostium primum type were present. Anatomic studies of the conduction tissue revealed that this tissue skirted the posterior and inferior aspects of the ventricular septal defect and that, as in persistent common atrioventricular canal, the course taken by the conduction tissue was unusually long, as a result of the peculiar posteroinferior position of the lower edge of the defect.
The electrocardiographic features were striking. In all cases the mean electrical axis of the QRS lay above the isoelectric point; the vector loop obtained in the frontal plane from the scalar electrocardiogram was directed counterclockwise, and its main mass was above the zero line. In addition, in all cases there were signs of right ventricular overload, and in some cases of left ventricular overload as well.
Electrocardiographic findings of this pattern have been thought by some authors to be diagnostic of persistent common atrioventricular canal, but we observed that they also occurred in each of the cases of isolated ventricular septal defect of the variety described herein. We recognize that in the usual variety of ventricular septal defect this electrocardiographic pattern occurs, but it does so uncommonly. We have not studied its exact incidence. The anatomy, hemodynamics, and surgical considerations are different in cases with this defect from those with persistent common atrioventricular canal. The surgical risk in these cases has been higher than that in the usual type of ventricular septal defect.
In the discussion of the electrophysiologic theories that seek to explain the unusual electrocardiographic patterns in this group of cases, a new theory is offered, based on studies of the conduction system. In our opinion, the different orientation of the advancing fronts of depolarization is the result of congenital displacement of the bundle of His in its relation to the ventricular septal defect.
- © 1961 American Heart Association, Inc.