Surgical treatment of the cardiac type of total anomalous pulmonary venous connection requires special techniques. The treatment and outcome in 17 consecutive patients who had undergone primary repairs of the cardiac type between 1965 and 1996 were reviewed. The median age was 3 months and median weight 4.2 kg. The connection was the coronary sinus in ten patients, and the right atrium in six. Interatrial communication was routinely augmented. The right atrial cavity was partitioned using a patch to direct the anomalous pulmonary veins into the left atrium through the atrial septal defect in the first 13 patients. In the last four patients, the free wall flap of the right atrium was developed as a neoseptum. There were three early postoperative deaths during the early period of conventional repair. Two patients developed residual or recurrent diffuse obstruction in the individual lobar veins; reoperation to relieve the obstruction was attempted but unsuccessful. One sudden death occurred in a patient with occasional heart block. Ten survivors have been asymptomatic during follow-up, but two incomplete heart blocks and one atrial flutter were noted among patients who underwent conventional repair. The right atrial wall flap technique was not associated with any mortality or morbidity, such as arrhythmia and recurrent pulmonary vein stenosis during 12 to 63 months of postoperative obstruction. In conclusions, a flap technique using the right atrial wall appears to be a promising method to decrease the incidence of supraventricular arrhythmias and pulmonary vein drainage obstruction following repair of the cardiac type.
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