Endocardial cushion defect (ECD) is a congenital heart disease in which the walls that separates the atria and ventricles (heart chambers) are poorly formed or absent. Essentially, the middle part of the heart is missing. Endocardial cushion defect occurs during embryological development of the fetus in the uterus. The endocardial cushions are two areas of thickening that eventually develop into the wall (septum) that separates the four chambers of the heart. They also form the mitral and tricuspid valves. Endocardial cushion defect is often associated with Down syndrome. If left untreated, endocardial cushion defect may cause heart failure and high blood pressure in the lungs. To fix this defect, doctors often recommend surgery during the first year of life to close the hole and reconstruct the valves.
Endocardial Cushion Defect (Video)