Acyanotic heart defect

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An acyanotic heart defect, also known as non-cyanotic heart defect, is a class of congenital heart defects. In these, blood is shunted (flows) from the left side of the heart to the right side of the heart due to a structural defect (hole) in the interventricular septum.[1] People often retain normal levels of oxyhemoglobin saturation in systemic circulation.

This term is outdated, because a person with an acyanotic heart defect may show cyanosis (turn blue due to insufficient oxygen in the blood).[1]

Signs and symptoms[edit]


Left to right shunting heart defects include:

  • Ventricular septal defect (VSD) (30% of all congenital heart defects)
  • Atrial septal defect (ASD)
  • Atrioventricular septal defect (AVSD)
  • Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA)
    • CORRECTION: Previously, Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) was listed as acyanotic but in actuality it can be cyanotic due to pulmonary hypertension resulting from the high pressure aorta pumping blood into the pulmonary trunk, which then results in damage to the lungs which can then result in pulmonary hypertension as well as shunting of blood back to the right ventricle. This consequently results in less oxygenation of blood due to alveolar damage as well as oxygenated blood shunting back to the right side of the heart, not allowing the oxygenated blood to pass through the pulmonary vein and back to the left atrium.
    • (Edit - this is called Eisenmenger's syndrome and can occur with Atrial septal defect and ventricular septal defect as well (actually more common in ASD and VSD) therefore PDA can still be listed as acyanotic as, acutely, it is)


Acyanotic heart defects without shunting include:



This condition can cause congestive heart failure.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Pillitteri, Adele (2013-11-25). Maternal and Child Health Nursing: Care of the Childbearing and Childrearing Family. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. p. 1201. ISBN 9781469833224. 

^NCLEX-PN Review 2nd Ed. (2006). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. ISBN 1-58255-915-5.