The results are reported of a study of 83 necropsied hearts with atresia of the right atrioventricular orifice. It is emphasised that right atrial or atrioventricular orificial atresia is a better term to describe this anomaly than "tricuspid atresia". Use of the latter term can be confusing when the morphologically tricuspid valve is located beneath the left atrium. It is accepted that the definition employed may include cases in which the mitral valve may be atretic, blocking normal exit from the right atrium, but it is argued that such cases would present clinically as "tricuspid atresia" and therefore are correctly designated as right atrial orificial atresia. The results show that the majority of hearts with right atrial orificial atresia have the ventricular morphology of primitive ventricle, most with, but a few without an outlet chamber. However, in a minority of hearts an imperforate membrane interposes between the right atrium and a formed but hypoplastic right ventricle. In two of the hearts, the imperforate membrane showed features of Ebstein's malformation. The hearts could be further subdivided according to the ventriculoarterial connection. Most had normally connected arteries (66 of 83), and all but 2 also had normal relations between the arteries; in these 2 hearts there was "anatomically corrected malposition". Twelve hearts showed transposition, one had double-outlet outlet chamber, and another persistent truncus arteriosus. The remaining 3 hearts, all without outlet chamber, had by definition a double outlet connection. A segmental approach provides the best way of classifying this anomaly, and an embryological explanation is offered for the variations in anatomy observed.
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