The levoatriocardinal vein: morphology and echocardiographic identification of the pulmonary-systemic connection

Journal of the American College of Cardiology
H S BernsteinN H Silverman


This study considers the array of pulmonary-systemic connections made by the levoatriocardinal vein. The primary and associated lesions that play a role in forming this vein are examined, and echocardiography is discussed as a method for its rapid identification. The levoatriocardinal vein is a pulmonary-systemic connection that provides an alternative egress for pulmonary venous blood in left-sided obstructive lesions. It is thought to result from the persistence of anastomotic channels that connect the capillary plexus of the embryonic foregut to the cardinal veins. Only 12 cases of levoatriocardinal vein have been reported since its first description in 1926. A comprehensive description of the morphology and echocardiographic identification of this lesion has been unavailable because of its rarity. A retrospective study was performed in 13 patients with a levoatriocardinal vein from the University of California, San Francisco. Echocardiographic findings were compared with those obtained by angiography or at necropsy. In addition, the details of 12 previously published case reports were reviewed. Age at presentation, primary obstruction to pulmonary venous return, integrity of the atrial septum and origin and drainage of the ...Continue Reading


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