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Left superior caval vein: a powerful indicator of fetal coarctation
  1. L Pasquini1,
  2. A Fichera1,
  3. T Tan1,
  4. S Y Ho2,
  5. H Gardiner1,*
  1. 1Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital, London, UK
  2. 2Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, Royal Brompton Hospitals, London UK
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr Helena M Gardiner
    Institute of Reproductive and Developmental Biology, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College, Sydney Street, London SW3 6NP, UK;

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A persistent left superior caval vein (LSVC) is present in about 0.3% of the population at necropsy and in adults undergoing pacing.1 Although it may occur in up to 9% of necropsies of children with congenital heart disease (CHD),2 its prevalence in the fetus at increased risk of, or with, CHD has not yet been determined. We document the incidence, associations, and outcome of LSVC in 1678 consecutive fetuses referred for echocardiography to a fetal medicine unit between January 1997 and December 2002.


Fetal echocardiograms were performed (Acuson Sequoia C256/Siemens Medical Solutions, Acuson Ultrasound Department, Mountain View, California) using a 6C2, 8C4 or 5V2c probe and persistence of the LSVC documented from routine views of the four chambers and transverse arch (the three vessel view). Postnatal diagnosis was confirmed by echocardiogram, at surgery, or at necropsy.

The odds ratio (95% confidence intervals (CI)) for CHD in the presence of LSVC and the odds ratio of …

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  • * Also at Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, Royal Brompton Hospitals, London, UK