Anomalies of cardiac venous drainage associated with abnormalities of cardiac conduction system

D R Morgan, L J Dixon, M Trimble, D B O'Keeffe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)


The embryological development of the superior vena cava (SVC) is complex. If the left common cardinal vein fails to occlude it can, along with the left duct of Cuvier form a left SVC, which frequently drains into the coronary sinus. This may result in abnormalities in the anatomy of this structure. A persistent left SVC occurs in 0.5% of the normal population, and 3% to 4.3% of patients with congenital heart anomalies. The pacemaking tissue of the heart is derived from two sites near the progenitors of the superior vena cava. The right-sided site forms the sinoatrial node, the left-sided site is normally carried down to an area near the coronary sinus. Out of 300 patients with cardiac rhythm abnormalities, who have undergone electrophysiological studies (EPS), or permanent pacemaker insertion (PPI), we identified 12 patients with cardiac conduction abnormalities and anomalies of venous drainage. Anomalies of the coronary sinus may be associated with abnormalities of the conduction system of the heart. This may be due to the close proximity of the coronary sinus to the final position of the left-sided primitive pacemaking tissue. In our series of 300 patients, 4% had an associated left SVC, a similar incidence to that found in previous studies of congenital heart disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-7
Number of pages7
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2002


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac/complications
  • Coronary Vessel Anomalies/complications
  • Coronary Vessels/embryology
  • Female
  • Heart Conduction System/abnormalities
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Vena Cava, Superior/abnormalities


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