In a normal heart structure, the aorta connects to the left ventricle, the chamber that pumps blood into the body. The pulmonary artery normally is connected to the right ventricle. In DORV, both arteries flow out of the right ventricle. This is a problem because the right ventricle carries oxygen-poor blood. This blood is then circulated throughout the body.
Another defect called a ventricular septal defect (VSD) always occurs with DORV. Other conditions that may be part of the defect are pulmonary valve stenosis and transposition of the great arteries.
Oxygen-rich blood from the lungs flows from the left side of the heart, through the VSD opening and into the right chamber. This helps the infant with DORV, because it allows oxygen-rich blood to mix with blood lacking in oxygen. Even with this mixture, the body may not get enough oxygen. This makes the heart work harder to meet the body’s needs. There are several types of DORV.
The difference between these types is the location of the VSD compared to the location of the pulmonary artery and aorta. The symptoms and severity of the problem will depend on the type of DORV the baby has. The presence of pulmonary valve stenosis also affects the condition.
People with DORV often have other heart abnormalities, such as:
- Coarctation of the aorta
- Mitral valve problems
- Pulmonary atresia
- Pulmonary valve stenosis
- Right aortic arch
- Transposition of the great arteries