Dextrocardia (from Latin dexter, meaning “right,” and Greek
Dextrocardia of embryonic arrest
In this form of dextrocardia, the heart is simply placed further right in the thorax than is normal. It is commonly associated with severe defects of the heart and related abnormalities including pulmonary hypoplasia.
Dextrocardia with situs
Kartagener syndrome may also be present in patients with dextrocardia but this must be in the setting of situs
Medical diagnosis of the two forms of congenital dextrocardia can be made by ECG or imaging.
Technical dextrocardia refers to an ECG reading that has no basis in the patient’s anatomy. This apparent presentation is typically caused by the accidental lead placement of the left and right arm electrodes.
ECG leads must be placed in reversed positions on a person with dextrocardia. In addition, when defibrillating someone with dextrocardia, the pads should be placed in reverse positions. That is, instead of upper right and lower left, pads should be placed upper left and lower right.
When heart transplantation is required in a person with situs
Dextrocardia is believed to occur in approximately 1 in 12,019 pregnancies.
A Japanese study of 1,753 fetal cardiac echocardiograms over five years only revealed two cases.