Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Drainage

Total anomalous pulmonary venous return (TAPVR) is a heart disease in which the 4 veins that take blood from the lungs to the heart do not attach generally to the left atrium (left upper chamber of the heart). Instead, they attach to another blood vessel or the incorrect part of the heart. It is present at birth (congenital heart disease).

Causes of TAPVR

First of all you should know other names of the issue: TAPVR; Total veins; Congenital heart problem – TAPVR; Cyanotic heart disease – TAPVR.

The cause of total anomalous pulmonary venous return is unidentified. In normal circulation, blood is sent out from the right ventricle to pick up oxygen in the lungs. It then returns through the pulmonary (lung) veins to the left side of the heart, which sends out blood out through the aorta and around the body. In TAPVR, oxygen-rich blood returns from the lungs to the right atrium or to a vein flowing into the right atrium, instead of the left side of heart. Simply puts, blood simply circles around to and from the lungs and never ever gets out to the body.

For the infant to live, an atrial septal flaw (ASD) or patent foramen ovale (passage between the left and right atria) must exist to permit oxygenated blood to stream to the left side of the heart and the rest of the body. How severe this condition is depends on whether the pulmonary veins are blocked or obstructed as they drain pipes. Blocked TAPVR causes symptoms early in life and can be lethal really rapidly if it is not discovered and remedied with surgery.

Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Drainage Symptoms

The baby may appear really sick and might have the following symptoms:

  • Bluish color of the skin (cyanosis).
  • Frequent breathing infections.
  • Sleepiness.
  • Poor feeding.
  • Poor development.
  • Rapid breathing.

Note: Sometimes, no symptoms may be present in infancy or early childhood.

Required Diagnosis

Tests might include:

  • Cardiac catheterization can verify the diagnosis by revealing that the capillary are abnormally connected.
  • ECG reveals enhancement of the ventricles (ventricular hypertrophy).
  • Echocardiogram might reveal that the pulmonary vessels are connected.
  • MRI or CT scan of the heart can reveal the connections between the pulmonary vessels.
  • X-ray of the chest shows a normal to small heart with fluid in the lungs.


Surgery to repair the issue is needed as soon as possible. In surgery, the pulmonary veins are linked to the left atrium and the defect in between the right and left atrium is closed.


If this condition is not treated, the heart will get bigger, resulting in heart failure. Fixing the defect early offers outstanding results if there is no clog of the pulmonary veins at the new connection into the heart. Infants who have obstructed veins have actually aggravated survival.

Possible Complications

Complications may consist of:

  • Breathing difficulties.
  • Heart failure.
  • Irregular, quick heart rhythms (arrhythmias).
  • Lung infections.
  • Pulmonary hypertension.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

This condition may appear at the time of birth. However, symptoms might not be present till later. Call your healthcare service provider if you notice symptoms of TAPVR. Prompt attention is needed.

There is no recognized way to prevent TAPVR.

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