Prenatal diagnosis of total and partial anomalous pulmonary venous connection: multicenter cohort study and meta-analysis

Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2018 Jul;52(1):24-34. doi: 10.1002/uog.18907.


Objectives: The aims of this study were to review systematically literature on and describe the sonographic features and associated anomalies of total (TAPVC) and partial (PAPVC) anomalous pulmonary venous connection and scimitar syndrome (SS).

Methods: A retrospective cohort study was carried out of cases of TAPVC, PAPVC and SS that underwent comprehensive ultrasound examination, seen over a 20-year period at two tertiary referral centers. Assessed variables included TAPVC subtype, gestational age at diagnosis, area behind the left atrium, ventricular disproportion, vertical vein, pulmonary venous obstruction, mode of diagnosis, association with cardiac and extracardiac conditions, and pregnancy and fetoneonatal outcomes. The outcome was considered favorable if the individual was alive and well (no functional impairment from surgery or cardiac or extracardiac conditions). Cases associated with right isomerism were excluded from the analysis, as TAPVC in these cases was only one of several major cardiac anomalies affecting sonographic signs. A systematic review was performed in order to obtain a synthesis of characteristics associated with TAPVC, PAPVC and SS. The literature search of PubMed and EMBASE (1970-2016) included reviews, case series and case reports. A meta-analysis was conducted only for TAPVC. Random-effects models were used to obtain pooled estimates of the frequencies of clinical characteristics and sonographic features.

Results: For TAPVC, a total of 15 studies involving 71 patients (including 13 from the current cohort study) were included in the systematic review and meta-analysis. The pooled estimate for the association of TAPVC with congenital heart disease was 28.3% (95% CI, 18.1-41.3%) and with extracardiac anomalies it was 18.5% (95% CI, 10.5-30.6%). Of TAPVC cases, obstructed venous return was observed in 34.1% (95% CI, 22.7-47.7%), a favorable outcome in 43.8% (95% CI, 24.0-65.8%), ventricular disproportion in 59.2% (95% CI, 45.1-72.0%), increased area behind the left atrium in 58.1% (95% CI, 41.1-73.5%) and a vertical vein in 59.3% (95% CI, 41.1-75.3%). Diagnosis was established by using color or power Doppler in 84.9% (95% CI, 67.3-93.9%) of cases. For SS, there were only three studies describing eight cases, to which the current study added another five. Ventricular disproportion was present in three out of nine SS cases for which data were available, but for two of these, there was a concurrent heart anomaly. Color Doppler was used for all SS diagnoses, and four-dimensional echocardiography was useful in two out of six cases in which it was used. Outcome for SS cases was generally good. For PAPVC, there were only five studies describing five cases, to which the current study added another two. Major cardiac anomalies were associated in four out of seven of these cases, and extracardiac anomalies in three out of six cases for which data were available.

Conclusions: TAPVC can be associated with other cardiac and extracardiac anomalies in a significant percentage of cases. Leading sonographic signs are ventricular disproportion, increased area behind the left atrium and the finding of a vertical vein. Color/power Doppler is the key mode for diagnosis of TAPVC. Obstructed venous return can be expected in roughly one-third of cases of TAPVC and outcome is favorable in less than half of cases. Data for SS and PAPVC are too few to synthesize. Copyright © 2017 ISUOG. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Keywords: anomalous venous connection; echocardiography; fetus; meta-analysis of IPD; scimitar syndrome.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Multicenter Study
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Echocardiography, Doppler, Color*
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Prenatal Diagnosis*
  • Pulmonary Veins / abnormalities*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Scimitar Syndrome / diagnostic imaging*