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Right-to-Left Cardiac Shunt

Last updated June 20, 2017

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

Cyanotic Heart Diseases signs and symptoms may include shortness of breath, very low levels of oxygen ‘spells’, loss of weight, puffy face and eyes, clubbed fingers, dizziness, and fainting.


The topic Right-to-Left Cardiac Shunt you are seeking is a synonym, or alternative name, or is closely related to the medical condition Cyanotic Heart Diseases.

Quick Summary:

  • Cyanotic Heart Diseases are a group of heart defects that result in cyanosis (bluish discoloration of the skin)
  • In general, the blood returning from different parts of the body is low in oxygen. It then flows from the right side of the heart to the lungs and gets rich in oxygen. It then returns to the left side of the heart, from where, the blood is distributed to all parts of the body
  • In children with Cyanotic Heart Diseases, this blood flow direction is changed and thus, the blood flowing from left side of the heart to the body is low in oxygen. This makes the body appear pale, because of the deficient oxygen content of blood
  • Some of the risk factors associated with the condition include viral infections or uncontrolled diabetes in pregnant women and alcohol consumption during pregnancy
  • Cyanotic Heart Diseases signs and symptoms may include shortness of breath, very low levels of oxygen ‘spells’, loss of weight, puffy face and eyes, clubbed fingers, dizziness, and fainting
  • Surgical repair of the heart defect is the treatment of choice for children with Cyanotic Heart Diseases. The prognosis is good with early diagnosis and appropriate treatment by experts in the field

Please find comprehensive information on Cyanotic Heart Diseases regarding definition, distribution, risk factors, causes, signs & symptoms, diagnosis, complications, treatment, prevention, prognosis, and additional useful information HERE.

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information onRight-to-Left Cardiac Shunt?

American Heart Association (AHA)
7272 Greenville Ave. Dallas, TX 75231
Phone: 1-800-AHA-USA-1, 1-800-242-8721, 1-888-474-VIVE
Email: Review.personal.info@heart.org
Website: http://www.heart.org

References and Information Sources used forRight-to-Left Cardiac Shunt:

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001104.html (accessed on 06/08/2017)

http://radiopaedia.org/articles/cyanotic-congenital-heart-disease (accessed on 06/08/2017)

http://www.pediatrics.wisc.edu/research/research-groups/hokanson/congenital-heart-diseases.html (accessed on 06/08/2017)

Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles forRight-to-Left Cardiac Shunt:

Eme, J., Gwalthney, J., Owerkowicz, T., Blank, J. M., & Hicks, J. W. (2010). Turning crocodilian hearts into bird hearts: growth rates are similar for alligators with and without right-to-left cardiac shunt. Journal of Experimental Biology213(15), 2673-2680.

Oudiz, R. J., Midde, R., Hovanesyan, A., Sun, X. G., Roveran, G., Hansen, J. E., & Wasserman, K. (2010). Usefulness of right-to-left shunting and poor exercise gas exchange for predicting prognosis in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension. The American journal of cardiology105(8), 1186-1191.

Leite, C. A., Taylor, E. W., Wang, T., Abe, A. S., & de Andrade, D. O. (2013). Ablation of the ability to control the right-to-left cardiac shunt does not affect oxygen uptake, specific dynamic action or growth in the rattlesnake Crotalus durissus. Journal of Experimental Biology216(10), 1881-1889.

Wright, D. D., Gibson, K. D., Barclay, J., Razumovsky, A., Rush, J., & McCollum, C. N. (2010). High prevalence of right-to-left shunt in patients with symptomatic great saphenous incompetence and varicose veins. Journal of vascular surgery51(1), 104-107.

Regan, J. D., Gibson, K. D., Rush, J. E., Shortell, C. K., Hirsch, S. A., & Wright, D. D. (2011). Clinical significance of cerebrovascular gas emboli during polidocanol endovenous ultra-low nitrogen microfoam ablation and correlation with magnetic resonance imaging in patients with right-to-left shunt. Journal of vascular surgery53(1), 131-137.

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: June 20, 2017
Last updated: June 20, 2017