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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Scimitar syndrome in infancy.

OBJECTIVES. The objectives of this study were to determine the anatomic and physiological factors most responsible for the severe symptoms and poor prognosis of infants with scimitar syndrome. BACKGROUND. Whereas the diagnosis of scimitar syndrome is often made incidentally in older children and adults who undergo chest radiography for diverse reasons, infants in whom the diagnosis is made typically present with severe symptoms and have a poor prognosis. METHODS. The clinical, catheterization and imaging data of 13 consecutive infants with scimitar syndrome who underwent cardiac catheterization in the 1st 6 months of life were reviewed, with emphasis on the pulmonary artery pressure, pulmonary and cardiovascular anatomy, therapeutic interventions and outcome. RESULTS. Twelve of the 13 infants had pulmonary hypertension at the time of diagnosis. Six patients died despite specific treatment. Eleven of 13 infants had associated cardiac malformations and 9 had large systemic arterial collateral channels to the right lung. Seven patients had anomalies involving the left side of the heart, especially varying degrees of hypoplasia of the left heart or aorta, and six of these patients died. Ten patients underwent surgical or transcatheter therapy in the 1st year of life. Systemic arteries to the right lung were ligated in three patients and occluded by transcatheter embolization in four. Balloon angioplasty was carried out in two patients, one with stenosis of the left-sided pulmonary veins and one with stenosis of the anomalous right pulmonary vein. The latter had placement of a balloon-expandable stent. In both patients, pulmonary vein stenosis progressed. Six patients had surgical repair of associated cardiovascular anomalies, and two required repair of extracardiac congenital anomalies. Occlusion of the anomalous systemic arteries was generally associated with clinical improvement, but congestive heart failure and pulmonary hypertension recurred in those patients with associated cardiovascular anomalies, whose condition subsequently responded after correction of the shunt lesions. CONCLUSIONS. The severe symptoms and pulmonary hypertension found in infants with scimitar syndrome have many causes. Anomalous systemic arterial supply, pulmonary vein stenosis and associated cardiovascular anomalies play a significant role, and the ultimate outcome of individual infants depends on the feasibility of treating these anomalies in early infancy.[1]


  1. Scimitar syndrome in infancy. Gao, Y.A., Burrows, P.E., Benson, L.N., Rabinovitch, M., Freedom, R.M. J. Am. Coll. Cardiol. (1993) [Pubmed]
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