Talk:Paper - Truncus arteriosus communis persistens (1915)

From Embryology

Truncus arteriosus communis persistens


Anatomical Laboratory y Western Reserve University y Cleveland ^ Ohio


The comparatively uncomplicated defect which this case presents, dating from an early period of embryonic development, and the evidence it affords of certain developmental processes, seem to justify its addition to the already almost endless hterature of cardiac malformations.

The development of the heart in question has been normal except for the complete absence of the septum aorto-pulmonale and the anomalies of the ventricular septum and valves of the common arterial ostium which this defect necessarily entails. In addition, as is common in these cases, there is no ductus arteriosus formed.

The organ, which came from a child of 5 months, is very large, weighing ca. 65 gm. The ventricular portion is broad, the apex not very well defined, the bulging of the ventricles hides the root of the tnmcus, especially on the right side.

The atria are normal, the foramen ovale is closed; two left pulmonary veins open by a short common trunk into the left atrium, the condition of the right veins can not be determined. The Thebesian and Eustachian valves are well formed.

In the ventricles, the walls are of approximately equal thickness, ca. 8 mm. The capacity of the left seems rather greater than that of the right, both ventricles communicate freely with the truncus, the left being perhaps the favored one. The mitral valve shows nothing unusual, the anterior and posterior papillary muscles being well developed. The tricuspid valve possesses three well-marked leaflets but the incisures between the cusps fall some distance short of the attached base of the valve. The papillary muscles and their attachments to the



valves may be considered normal. The anterior papillary receives a large, well-defined moderator band. From the septum below and in front of the ventricular defect arise three strong chordae, the papillary muscle of the conus — of Luschka,

Fig. 1 Heart viewed from the left and in front. In the ventricle the medial cusp and posterior papillary muscle of the mitral valve are shown. The truncus and left pulmonary artery are opened up, the origin of the right pulmonary is also visible. Of the valves of the truncus only the right and posterior are well shown; below the former is the ventricular defect and behind this the intact pars membranacea. Through the defect can be seen some of the chordae of the anterior papillary muscle.

although the muscular part is but faintly indicated. These chordae pass to the adjacent ends of the anterior and medial cusps, and one crossing the medial cusp can be traced directly across the pars membranacea. The noduli Albini are very distinct on both mitral and tricuspid valves.


The large truncus communis arises almost equally from both ventricles, its origin, which is distinctly constricted, is hidden in the deep atrioventricular groove, being over-lapped particularly by the conus portion of the right ventricle. Distal to the semilunar valves it suddenly enlarges, especially toward the right, this wall being strongly convex while the left wall is practically straight. From the left side of the truncus, and rather nearer its origin than the concavity of the arch of the aorta, arises the left pulmonary artery. The right pulmonary artery arises at the same level from the dorsal wall of the truncus on left side, close to the left pulmonary. The right artery turns at once sharply to the right to assume its normal position behind the truncus. Both vessels are of equal calibre and much thinner than the truncus or the aorta. There is no trace of the ductus Botalli. No evidence whatever of the distal portion of the septum aorto-pulmonale is present, i.e., there is here a total persistence, as contrasted with cases of partial persistence, of the tnmcus arteriosus. Indeed the only feature indicating even an intended subdivision is the shifting to the left of the right pulmonary — of the right sixth arch. Beyond the pulmonaries the aorta decreases rapidly in size, its arch giving off the three usual branches. The semilunar valves of the truncus are three in number and perfectly formed. The cusps are so arranged that one is posterior the other two anterior, of these last two the left is more lateral than the right. From the corresponding right and left sinuses arise the coronary arteries, while above the posterior cusp is a slightly marked, transversely elongated depression, limited above by a faint ridge (indistinctly seen in the photograph) resembling an occluded vessel, but nothing can be seen externally.

The ventricular defect appears as an elongated slit between the upper border of the muscular septum and the lower surface of the truncal valves. Its lower and anterior limits are formed by the muscular septum and heart wall, behind it is bounded by the anterior concave margin of the pars membranacea. The pars membranacea — not including the septum atrioventriculare, is a thin, translucent membrane, devoid of muscular fibers


and triangular in outline. Its posterior rounded apex is situated slightly below the center of the posterior truncal valve, its base or anterior margin is free and sharply concave, running out below onto the muscular septum while above it is lost in the interval between the right and posterior semilunar valves, being confluent with, or giving attachment to, the anterior leaflet of the tricuspid valve. The left side of the membranous septum is easily seen, the right forms the mesial boundary of a small pocket which is limited laterally by the medial, and to a slight extent by the anterior leaflet of the right venous valve. It is on this surface that the above mentioned chorda is found. Between the upper attachment of the free border of the membranous septum and the right semilunar valve, and close to the latter, is a small nodule resembling the noduU Albini. The pars membranacea is much larger than usual and, as far as can be ascertained now, is bent over to the right along its attachment to the muscular septum, so that its left surface looks upward and is brought close to, if not in contact with, the right half of the posterior semilunar valve, particularly during closure of the truncal valves.

The conus part of the right ventricle is well developed, forming a deep recess above and between the tricuspid orifice and the ventricular defect. Externally this recess is seen as the prominent bulging on the ventral surface of the heart which covers the root of the truncus. The cardiac wall is here semitranslucent, covered with trabeculae which reach almost to the semilunar valves, and is the thinnest portion of the ventricular wall. An undoubted crista supraventricularis cannot be identified, although there is large trabecular mass, forming the right boundary of the thin-walled conus, running up to the right truncal valve, much like the trabeculae which have a similar relation to the left and more especially to the right cusp of the pulmonary valve in the adult.

Viewed from the right ventricle all of the right semilunar valve can be seen, nearly half of the posterior and a small portion of the left. During distension the valves would apparently quite fill the interventricular opening.


The specimen under consideration offers a concrete confirmation of our views of the development in the region of embryonic auricular canal; views which, although by no means new, still do not seem to be universally current. With a complete failure of development of the septum aorto-pulmonale and the subsequent interventricular communication, there is, nevertheless, a well-formed pars membranacea septi, indeed the interventricular portion of the membranous septum is more extensive than usual. The interventricular opening in this case — a defect in the posterior part of the anterior septum according to Rokitansky — has nothing whatever to do with the pars membranacea, but is due to the non-development of the septum aorto-pulmonale, aggravated it may be by some consequent arrest of development in the muscular septum. The great majority of interventricular foramina, regardless of the condition of the septum aorto-pulmonale, do not implicate the membranous septum for the simple reason that the only relation of the two septa is topographical and they are almost as independent in their development as they are in their origin. The entire pars membranacea septi, atrio ventricular as well as interventricular portion, and the major part if not all of the atrio ventricular valves are derivatives of the endothelial cushions of the primitive auricular canal, and the adult relations reproduce essentially those of the embryo. Hence their comihon histological characters in the adult and the intimate relations between the membranous septum and the tricuspid valve. The fused right ends of the anterior and posterior endothelial cushions give rise to the mesial part of the anterior cusp and to the entire medial cusp of the tricuspid valve, while toward the left these same cushions furnish material for the entire pars membranacea although as a rule most of the interventricular portion may be a derivative of the posterior cushion. Evidence for this is provided by the chordae which pass from the membranous septum to the anterior and medial cusps. Although these cusps are as a rule not entirely distinct, cases can be found where the adjacent tips of the leaflets are in no way connected but nm out on the pars membranacea leaving a distinct interval between them. Granted the origin of the valves from the anterior and posterior cushions, one could, in the cases just cited, determine the relative extent of the membranous septum derived from each cushion. In the heart here described the subdivisions of the valve leaflets are not sufficiently marked to determine accurately their relation to the septum. In view of the foregoing one can understand the rarity of pure, uncompUcated defects of the membranous part of the inter-ventricular septum while not denying (Rokitansky) their occurrence.

The development of this heart has been normal except for the septum aorto-pulmonale, even the enlarged conus portion of the right ventricle being present. The blood would leave the right ventricle iq the direction of the pulmonary arteries but would be hopelessly mingled with that issuing from the left side.

The heart, as shown in the photograph, was obtained through the kindness of Dr. V. C. Rowland of this city and was the only material available for study so that nothing is known as to the presence of anomalies elsewhere.