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Pediatric Unbalanced Atrioventricular Septal Defects Medication

  • Author: Mark A Law, MD; Chief Editor: Howard S Weber, MD, FSCAI  more...
Updated: Jan 04, 2016

Medication Summary

No specific or recommended drug therapy is available for unbalanced atrioventricular (AV) septal defects. If evidence of pulmonary overcirculation is present, management of congestive heart failure (CHF) with digoxin, diuretics, and ACE inhibitors may be indicated. ACE inhibitors may also be indicated for atrioventricular valve (AVV) regurgitation.


Cardiac glycosides

Class Summary

These agents theoretically provide a positive inotropic effect. They are used to treat acute and chronic CHF.

Digoxin (Lanoxin)


Frequently used cardiac glycoside that inhibits the sarcolemmal sodium-potassium ATPase, leading to an increase in intracellular calcium concentration and increased myocardial contractility.


Loop diuretics

Class Summary

These agents inhibit electrolyte reabsorption in the ascending loop of Henle, thereby promoting diuresis. They are used to treat heart failure or hepatic, renal, or pulmonary disease when sodium and water retention has resulted in edema or ascites.

Furosemide (Lasix)


Increases excretion of water by interfering with chloride-binding cotransport system that inhibits sodium and chloride reabsorption in the ascending loop of Henle and distal tubule.


ACE inhibitors

Class Summary

ACE inhibitors are beneficial in all stages of chronic heart failure. Pharmacologic effects result in decreased systemic vascular resistance, reducing blood pressure, preload, and afterload.

Captopril (Capoten)


Inhibits activity of ACE, thereby preventing conversion of angiotensin I to angiotensin II (a potent vasoconstrictor). Decreased levels of angiotensin II lead to increased plasma renin levels and decreased aldosterone levels.

Enalapril (Vasotec)


Prevents conversion of angiotensin I to angiotensin II, a potent vasoconstrictor, resulting in increased levels of plasma renin and a reduction in aldosterone secretion.

Helps control blood pressure and proteinuria. Decreases pulmonary-to-systemic flow ratio in the catheterization laboratory and increases systemic blood flow in patients with relatively low pulmonary vascular resistance. Has favorable clinical effect when administered over a long period. Helps prevent potassium loss in distal tubules. The body conserves potassium; thus, less oral potassium supplementation needed.

Patients who develop a cough, angioedema, bronchospasm, or other hypersensitivity reactions after starting ACEIs should be switched to an angiotensin-receptor blocker.

Contributor Information and Disclosures

Mark A Law, MD Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Fellowship Director of Pediatric Cardiology, Department of Pediatric Cardiology, University of Alabama School of Medicine

Mark A Law, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Cardiology, American College of Physicians, American Heart Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Mary L Windle, PharmD Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Hugh D Allen, MD Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Cardiology and Department of Internal Medicine, Ohio State University College of Medicine

Hugh D Allen, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Society of Echocardiography, Society for Pediatric Research, Society of Pediatric Echocardiography, Western Society for Pediatric Research, American College of Cardiology, American Heart Association, American Pediatric Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Howard S Weber, MD, FSCAI Professor of Pediatrics, Section of Pediatric Cardiology, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine; Director of Interventional Pediatric Cardiology, Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital

Howard S Weber, MD, FSCAI is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Cardiology, Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions

Disclosure: Received income in an amount equal to or greater than $250 from: St. Jude Medical.

Additional Contributors

Paul M Seib, MD Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences; Medical Director, Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory, Co-Medical Director, Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit, Arkansas Children's Hospital

Paul M Seib, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Cardiology, American Heart Association, Arkansas Medical Society, International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation, Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Ameeta Martin, MD Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Pediatric Cardiology, University of Nebraska College of Medicine

Ameeta Martin, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Cardiology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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Echocardiogram image revealing a left ventricular dominant atrioventricular (AV) canal defect.
Catheterization in a patient with a left ventricular (LV)–dominant atrioventricular (AV) canal defect. The catheter is positioned in the pulmonary artery demonstrating pulmonary artery band and branch pulmonary arteries.
ECG of a 3-month-old female with a left ventricular (LV)–dominant atrioventricular (AV) canal. The ECG reveals left axis deviation with an initial counterclockwise frontal loop.
Echocardiogram clip demonstrating common atrioventricular (AV) valve regurgitation in a patient with a left-ventricular (LV)–dominant AV canal defect.
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