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Pride Veterinary Centre Cardiology Service Gives Chester A New Lease Of Life By Correcting A Congenital Heart Defect

2 months ago

3rd February, 2020 10h18

IVC Evidensia UK & IE

The Cardiology team at Pride Veterinary Centre recently performed an unusual procedure to alleviate a congenital heart defect obstructing the blood flow back to the heart. This was the first time Pride Veterinary Centre has undertaken this procedure, which is rare in both human and veterinary medicine.

Chester, a Springer Spaniel age 7 months was referred to Pride Veterinary Centre for investigation of abdominal distention and ascites detected by the referring vet.

He initially saw the Internal Medicine team due to suspicion of a hepatic problem but was then passed to the Cardiology team for further investigation and treatment.


Rachel Blake, Veterinary Cardiologist at Pride Veterinary Centre explains, “Diagnosis was made on echocardiography, which identified the congenital heart defect cor triatriatum dexter, resulting in right-sided congestive heart failure.”

This is a congenital defect that occurs due to persistence of an embryologic structure in the heart resulting in a membrane dividing the right atrium into two chambers. There is usually a defect in the membrane allowing blood to pass between the two chambers but if this communication is very small it can result in obstruction of blood returning to the heart and the development of ascites.

Once the ascites reaches a significant volume it can be uncomfortable for the animal and can put pressure on the diaphragm, impeding breathing. There have not been enough cases reported to establish an accurate life expectancy but it is likely that if left untreated this condition would have significantly shortened Chester’s life.  


The Cardiology team at Pride Veterinary Centre initially treated Chester with oral medications to control his right-sided congestive heart failure.

Once this was achieved, Chester underwent balloon dilation of the cor triatriatum dexter which allowed his medications to be stopped. During this procedure, a balloon catheter is inserted through the femoral vein to the right atrium. The balloon is passed through the small defect in the membrane and inflated, breaking down the membrane and increasing the size of the communication between the two chambers of the right atrium.

Veterinary Cardiology Specialist Rachel Blake worked alongside members of the Anaesthesia and Diagnostic Imaging teams, and with the assistance of an external Veterinary Cardiologist on this uncommon procedure.

Rachel says, “Having a multi-disciplinary referral service is key to the success of procedures such as this balloon dilation. We rely heavily on the expertise of our colleagues, both vets and veterinary nurses.”

Rachel joined the Cardiology service in May 2019 and has added interventional cardiology procedures to the range of referral services available at Pride Veterinary Centre.

This condition is rare in both humans and animals and the procedure was a first for Pride Veterinary Centre.


Chester recovered well from his procedure and we have been able to stop all of this medications.   He has been doing very well since going home and is even more lively than before.  

Rachel adds, “We are very pleased with Chester’s recovery. The procedure went well and we have been getting updates on his antics at home. He is certainly a lively fellow and we are so happy to see him live his very best life post-procedure.”

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