Foramen ovale/atrial septum area ratio: a marker of transatrial blood flow.
We examined 51 cardiac specimens to test the hypothesis that the size of the foramen ovale is directly proportional to the relative volume of transatrial blood flow during cardiac morphogenesis. Included in the study were 18 normal specimens, five with tricuspid atresia, four with pulmonary atresia and intact ventricular septum, nine with secundum atrial septal defect, eight with simple coarctation of the aorta and seven with aortic stenosis. The areas of the foramen ovale and atrial septum were measured and the ratio of foramen ovale to atrial septum was calculated. The area of the atrial septum did not differ significantly among the six groups. Normal specimens had a ratio of 0.19 +/- 0.07. Specimens with tricuspid atresia and pulmonary atresia had ratios of 0.43 +/- 0.01 and 0.38 +/- 0.10, respectively (p less than 0.05). The ratio in specimens with coarctation of the aorta was 0.15 +/- 0.07 (NS). Specimens with aortic stenosis had a ratio of 0.11 +/- 0.06 (p less than 0.05). Specimens with secundum atrial septal defects had a ratio of 0.37 +/- 0.08 (p less than 0.05). These data indicate that the foramen ovale is a marker of transatrial blood flow in utero. Secundum atrial septal defects may be a consequence of increased transatrial blood flow.
- Copyright © 1982 by American Heart Association