Revision 4 for 'Cardiovascular shunts'

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Cardiovascular shunts

Cardiovascular (cardiac) shunts are an abnormal connection between the pulmonary and systemic circulations. Most commonly they are the result of congenital heart disease

Pathology

Blood can either be shunted from the systemic circulation to pulmonary circulation (left-to-right shunt) or between the pulmonary circulation and systemic circulation (right-to-left shunt). 

Left-to-right shunt

In a left-to-right shunt oxygenated blood flows directly from the systemic circulation to the pulmonary circulation, these results in decreased tissue oxygenation through reduced cardiac output. Causes include:

Right-to-left shunt

In a right-to-left shunt deoxygenated blood flows directly from the pulmonary circulation to the systemic circulation, decreasing tissue oxygenation by reducing the oxygen content of systemic arterial blood. Causes include:

Radiographic features

Imaging findings vary depending on the underlying etiology, please see articles listed above for further details. 

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