Evolution and Current Results of a Unified Strategy for Sinus Venosus Surgery

Ann Thorac Surg. 2021 Mar;111(3):980-986. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2020.03.113. Epub 2020 May 11.


Background: Given recent reports of percutaneous closure of sinus venosus atrial septal defects, we reviewed our experience with surgical repair. Owing to the high incidence of arrhythmias with the two-patch technique, since 2001 we have used either one-patch repairs or the Warden procedure.

Methods: A retrospective review was performed of pediatric patients undergoing sinus venosus atrial septal defect repair at our institution from January 1, 1990, to July 1, 2018. Standard demographic data such as echocardiographic and cross-sectional imaging along with operative details and clinical echocardiographic outcomes were collected.

Results: The cohort included 144 patients with a median age of 4.3 years (interquartile range, 8.5). Inferior SVASD was present in 24 patients (17%). A single autologous untreated pericardial patch was used for 114 patients (79%), a two-patch technique for 20 patients (14%, last performed in 2000), and a Warden procedure in 10 patients (7%). Median length of stay was 4 days (interquartile range, 2). On echocardiogram follow-up, no patient had pulmonary vein stenosis. One patient who had the Warden procedure required a balloon dilation of the superior caval vein 2 years postoperatively and a stent 3 years later. Two-patch patients were substantially less likely to be in normal sinus rhythm (41%) on postoperative electrocardiograms compared with the other two techniques (81% one-patch and 89% Warden, P = .02).

Conclusions: The great majority of patients with sinus venosus atrial septal defects can be successfully repaired with a single patch of autologous pericardium. We transitioned to using either a single pericardial patch or the Warden procedure, resulting in a higher frequency of normal sinus rhythm on postoperative electrocardiograms.

MeSH terms

  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / methods
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / standards*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Computed Tomography Angiography / methods*
  • Echocardiography
  • Electrocardiography
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heart Septal Defects, Atrial / diagnosis
  • Heart Septal Defects, Atrial / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Vena Cava, Superior / diagnostic imaging
  • Vena Cava, Superior / surgery*

Supplementary concepts

  • Atrial Septal Defect Sinus Venosus