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Veno-venous bridges: the forerunners of the sinus venosus defect

  • Ryan J. Butts (a1), Andrew M. Crean (a2) (a3), Anthony M. Hlavacek (a1), Diane E. Spicer (a4) (a5), Andrew C. Cook (a6), Erwin N. Oechslin (a2) (a3) and Robert H. Anderson (a1) (a6)...



Differentiation of the so-called sinus venosus defect from other defects permitting shunting between the atrial chambers remains problematic. The lesion is not a true septal defect, and current theories to explain the existence of the sinus venosus defect fall short. The presence of persistent systemic to pulmonary venous connections has been proposed to explain the existence of the sinus venosus defect.


Clinical histories and radiological findings of six patients are reviewed. Three patients have veno-venous bridges, two have partial anomalous pulmonary venous connections, and one patient has a sinus venosus defect. The clinical information is reviewed, along with current developmental and morphological considerations.


We provide radiographic, developmental, and morphological evidence to support the theory that a so-called sinus venosus defect is the consequence of persistence of foetal systemic to pulmonary veno-venous bridges, rather than of deficiencies in atrial septation.


Corresponding author

Correspondence to: Dr R. Butts, Department of Pediatrics, Medical University of South Carolina, 171 Ashley Avenue, Charleston, South Carolina 29425, United States of America. Tel: 843 792 3286; Fax: 843 792 3284; E-mail:


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