Double outlet right ventricle (DORV) is a heart disease that is present from birth (congenital). The aorta connects to the right ventricle (the chamber of the heart that pumps blood to the lungs), instead of to the left ventricle (the chamber that normally pumps blood to the body).
Both the pulmonary artery (which carries oxygen-poor blood to the lungs) and aorta (which carries oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the body) come from the same pumping chamber. No arteries are connected to the left ventricle (the chamber that normally pumps blood to the body).
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.
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:
Symptoms of DORV may include:
- Baby tires easily, especially when feeding
- Bluish color of the skin and lips
- Clubbing (thickening of the nail beds) on toes and fingers (late sign)
- Failure to gain weight and grow
- Pale coloring
- Swollen legs or abdomen
- Trouble breathing
Exams and Tests
Signs of DORV may include:
- Enlarged heart
- Heart murmur
- Rapid breathing
- Rapid heartbeat
Tests to diagnose DORV include:
- Chest x-rays
- Passing a thin, flexible tube into the heart to measure blood pressure and inject dye for special pictures of the heart and arteries (cardiac catheterization)
- Ultrasound exam of the heart (echocardiogram)
- Using magnets to create images of the heart (MRI)
Treatment requires surgery to close the hole in the heart and direct blood from the left ventricle into the aorta. Surgery may also be needed to move the pulmonary artery or aorta.
Factors that determine the type and number of operations the baby needs include:
- The type of DORV
- The severity of the defect
- The presence of other problems in the heart
- The child's overall condition
How well the baby does depends on:
- The size of the VSD
- Its location
- The size of the pumping chambers
- The location of the aorta and pulmonary artery
- The presence of other complications (such as coarctation of the aorta and mitral valve problems)
- The baby's overall health at the time of diagnosis
- Whether lung damage has occurred from too much blood flowing to the lungs for a long period of time
Complications from DORV may include:
- Congestive heart failure (CHF)
- High blood pressure in the lungs
- Irreversible damage to the lungs due to untreated high blood pressure in the lungs
Children with this congenital heart disease may need to take antibiotics before dental treatment. This prevents infections around the heart. Antibiotics may also be needed after surgery.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if your child seems to tire easily, has trouble breathing, or has bluish skin or lips. You should also consult your health care provider if your baby is not growing or gaining weight.
DORV; Taussig-Bing anomaly; DORV with doubly-committed VSD; DORV with noncommitted VSD; DORV with subaortic VSD
Baldwin HS, Dees Ellen. Embryology and physiology of the cardiovascular system. In: Gleason CA, Devaskar S, eds. Avery's Diseases of the Newborn. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 50.
Update Date 5/14/2014
Updated by: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.