In a normal heart, the coronary arteries carry oxygen-rich blood to the heart tissue. The blood is then returned through a coronary vein. With a coronary artery fistula, the artery connects to a wrong part of the heart (eg, the heart chamber or other blood vessels).
This condition can be mild to severe. Other heart defects may be present as well.
This condition is typically a congenital defect. This means that the baby is born with it. It is not known exactly why the coronary artery develops abnormally in some babies. It can also occur after birth due to infection, injury, or heart surgery.
Children with this condition usually do not have any symptoms. Sometimes the condition is noticed by a heart murmur that the doctor hears during a physical exam. Occasionally, other symptoms may include:
If your child has any of these symptoms, get medical care right away. In severe cases, this condition can lead to a heart attack or a ruptured fistula.
The doctor will ask about your child’s symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Tests may include:
Talk with the doctor about the best treatment plan for your child. Options include:
Surgeries that may be done to treat this condition include:
Your child will have regular exams by a heart doctor.
Preventing heart defects may not always be possible. However, getting regular prenatal care is always important.
American Family Physician
American Heart Association
Canadian Cardiovascular Society
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
American Heart Association. How your cardiologist diagnoses heart defects. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=152 . Accessed July 13, 2010.
Children’s Hospital Boston. Coronary artery fistula. Children’s Hospital Boston website. Available at: http://www.childre... . Accessed July 13, 2010.
Johns Hopkins University, Cove Point Foundation. Coronary artery fistula. Johns Hopkins University, Cove Point Foundation website. Available at: http://www.pted.org/?id=coronaryfistula6 . Accessed July 23, 2010.
Last reviewed June 2012 by Kari Kassir, MD
Last Updated: 06/06/2012