Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Atrioventricular canal defect might be detected before birth through ultrasound and special heart imaging.

After birth, signs and symptoms of complete atrioventricular canal defect are usually noticeable within the first few weeks. When listening to your baby's heart, your doctor might hear an abnormal whooshing sound (heart murmur) caused by turbulent blood flow.

If your baby is experiencing the signs and symptoms of atrioventricular canal defect, your doctor might recommend:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG). Electrical signals are recorded as they travel through the heart. Your doctor can look for patterns that indicate abnormal heart function.
  • Echocardiogram. Sound waves produce live-action images of the heart. Echocardiogram can reveal a hole in the heart and abnormal heart valves, as well as abnormal blood flow through the heart.
  • Chest X-ray. The image can show evidence of an enlarged heart.
  • Cardiac catheterization. A thin, flexible tube (catheter) is inserted into a blood vessel in the groin and up to the heart. A dye injected through the catheter makes the heart structures visible on X-ray pictures. The catheter also allows the doctor to measure pressure in the chambers of the heart and in the blood vessels.
Aug. 14, 2015