Partial anomalous pulmonary venous connection: diagnosis by transesophageal echocardiography

J Am Coll Cardiol. 1997 May;29(6):1351-8. doi: 10.1016/s0735-1097(97)82758-1.


Objective: This study sought to demonstrate that with proper technique, identification of the normal and abnormal pulmonary venous connection can be made with confidence using transesophageal echocardiography (TEE).

Background: Partial anomalous pulmonary venous connection (PAPVC) is an uncommon congenital anomaly whose diagnosis has classically been made using angiography.

Methods: We performed a retrospective review of all patients of all ages with PAPVC diagnosed at the Mayo Clinic who had undergone TEE because of either right ventricular volume overload or suspected intracardiac shunting by transthoracic echocardiography or intraoperatively.

Results: A total of 66 PAPVCs were detected in 43 patients (1.5/patient); in 2 additional patients, TEE suggested, but did not diagnose, PAPVCs. Shortness of breath was the most common presenting symptom (42.2%), followed by heart murmur and supraventricular tachycardia. Right-sided anomalous veins were identified in 35 patients (81.4%), left-sided in 7 (16.3%) and bilateral in 1 (2.3%). There was a single anomalous connecting vein in 23 patients (53.5%), two in 18 (41.9%), three in 1 (2.3%) and four in 1 (2.3%). The connecting site was the superior vena cava (SVC) in 39 veins (59.1%), right atrial-SVC junction in 6 (9.1%), right atrium in 8 (12.1%), inferior vena cava in 1 (1.5%) and the coronary sinus in 2 (3.0%). Ten anomalous left pulmonary veins were connected by a vertical vein to the innominate vein (15.1%). Sinus venosus atrial septal defect (ASD) was the most common associated anomaly in 22 patients (49%), followed by ostium secundum ASD in 6 and patent foramen ovale in 4. Fifteen patients had an intact atrial septum. Thirty-one patients (68.8%) underwent surgical repair. PAPVC was confirmed in all patients, including the two whose TEE results were suggestive of PAPVC. All 49 PAPVCs detected by TEE preoperatively were confirmed at the time of operation.

Conclusions: TEE is highly diagnostic for PAPVC and can obviate angiography. Accurate anatomic diagnosis may influence the need for medical and surgical management. TEE should be performed in patients with right ventricular volume overload when the precordial examination is inconclusive.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Angiography
  • Echocardiography, Transesophageal*
  • Female
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / diagnostic imaging*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / surgery
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / etiology
  • Hypertrophy, Right Ventricular / etiology
  • Male
  • Pulmonary Veins / abnormalities*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity