Major aorto-pulmonary collateral arteries of patients with pulmonary atresia and ventricular septal defect are dilated bronchial arteries

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To test the hypothesis that major aorto-pulmonary collaterals (MAPCAs) have the same anatomy as bronchial arteries.


Two hundred and thirty-eight angiographies performed on 61 patients with pulmonary atresia, ventricular septal defect (VSD), and MAPCAs constituted the basis for this study. This represented all available angiographies performed on this patient group at our institution during the period 1972-2001. MAPCA anatomy was compared to bronchial artery anatomy as described in previous publications.


Each patient had one to five MAPCAs (mean 3.2 ± 0.94). A mean of 2.6 ± 0.66 MAPCAs came from the descending aorta. MAPCAs with anatomy similar to right intercosto-bronchial arteries were found in 87% of the patients. Fifty percent of the patients had MAPCAs originating from the subclavian artery regions. These numbers were all similar to those previously described for bronchial arteries. All MAPCAs had anatomy similar to bronchial arteries. The distribution in different branching patterns of MAPCAs arising from the aorta was similar to the distribution of bronchial arteries described in previous angiographic studies (p = 0.32 and p = 0.24).


In patients with pulmonary atresia and VSD, MAPCAs are likely to be dilated bronchial arteries. Bronchial arteries may have limited growth potential and their known vasoreactivity might preclude any long-term beneficial effects of unifocalization procedures.

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