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J Cardiovasc Magn Reson. 2011 Nov 21;13:72. doi: 10.1186/1532-429X-13-72.

Assessment of pulmonary veins after atrio-pericardial anastomosis by cardiovascular magnetic resonance.

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Division of Cardiology, The Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Ontario, M5G 1X8, Canada.



The atrio-pericardial anastomosis (APA) uses a pericardial pouch to create a large communication between the left atrium and the pulmonary venous contributaries in order to avoid direct suturing of the pulmonary veins during the repair of congenital cardiac malformations. Post-operative imaging is routinely performed by echocardiography but cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) offers excellent anatomical imaging and quantitative information about pulmonary blood flow. We sought to compare the diagnostic value of echocardiography and CMR for assessing pulmonary vein anatomy after the APA.


This retrospective study evaluated all consecutive patients between October 1998 and January 2010 after either a primary or secondary APA followed by post-repair CMR.


Of 103 patients who had an APA, 31 patients had an analyzable CMR study. The average time to CMR was 24.6 ± 32.5 months post-repair. Echocardiographic findings were confirmed by CMR in 12 patients. There was incomplete imaging by echocardiography in 7 patients and underestimation of pulmonary vein restenosis in 12, when compared to CMR. In total, 19/31 patients (61%) from our cohort had significant stenosis following the APA as assessed by CMR. Our data suggest that at least 18% (19/103) of all patients had significant obstruction post-repair.


Echocardiography incompletely imaged or underestimated the severity of obstruction in patients compared with CMR. Pulmonary vein stenosis remains a sizable complication after repair, even using the APA.

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