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Ann Thorac Surg. 2007 Nov;84(5):1651-5; discussion 1655.

Evolving surgical strategy for sinus venosus atrial septal defect: effect on sinus node function and late venous obstruction.

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Division of Cardiovascular Thoracic Surgery, Children's Memorial Hospital, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois 60614, USA.



Our surgical strategy for repair of sinus venosus atrial septal defect has evolved chiefly to avoid sinus node dysfunction. We reviewed our experience with the single-patch, two-patch, and Warden repairs.


We identified 54 patients with repair of sinus venosus atrial septal defect from 1990 to 2006. Mean age was 9.5 +/- 12.6 years; median age was 4.2 years. Partial anomalous pulmonary venous connection was found in 52 patients (96%); drainage was to the right atrium in 8, right atrial-superior vena cava (SVC) junction in 17, and directly to the SVC in 27. Techniques were single-patch repair (24), two-patch repair (25), and Warden repair (5). Autologous pericardium was used in all patients. Echocardiogram and electrocardiogram follow-up were available for 48 patients (89%).


There were no early or late deaths and no reoperations. No patient had pulmonary vein stenosis. Five patients had SVC stenosis: 2 mild after two-patch repair; 1 moderate and 1 mild after single-patch repair; and 1 severe stenosis after Warden procedure (p = 0.3). The incidence of rhythm change from sinus to low atrial or junctional rhythm was 35% and was significantly greater among patients with two-patch repair (12 of 22, 55%) compared with single-patch repair (5 of 21, 24%), or the Warden repair (0 of 5, p = 0.02).


Repair of sinus venosus atrial septal defect with autologous pericardium is associated with a low incidence of late SVC or pulmonary vein stenosis with all techniques. Use of the two-patch technique, however, is associated with a significantly greater incidence of sinus node dysfunction. For the patients with partial anomalous pulmonary venous connection entering the SVC, the Warden procedure avoids interfering with the sinus node and should be used preferentially. The single-patch technique remains the procedure of choice for sinus venosus atrial septal defect with partial anomalous pulmonary venous connection entering the right atrium or right atrium-SVC junction.

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