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A histological study of the atrioventricular junction in hearts with normal and prolapsed leaflets of the mitral valve.
  1. A Angelini,
  2. S Y Ho,
  3. R H Anderson,
  4. M J Davies,
  5. A E Becker
  1. Department of Paediatric Cardiac Morphology, Cardiothoracic Institute, London.


    The mitral annulus is the point at which the atrial and ventricular walls meet the base of the mitral valve cusps. The suggestion that a variant of this arrangement termed "disjunction" was associated with prolapse of the leaflets prompted examination of the mitral atrioventricular junctions in seven normal hearts and six with prolapse owing to floppy mitral valves. A complete cord-like ring of connective tissue that encircled the atrioventricular junction and into which the three components were inserted at the same point was found in only one heart. The remaining hearts all showed a mixture of segments in which either the three components were inserted into a cord or simply met. Disjunction, defined as a separation of the atrial wall-mitral valve junction from the other component, the left ventricular wall, can occur both with and without a cord-like annulus. There was no significant difference in the number of segments around the left atrioventricular junction which showed disjunction in hearts with normal or prolapsing leaflets. The feature termed disjunction is an anatomical variation of the normal morphological characteristics of the left atrioventricular junction.

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