Major Aortopulmonary Collateral Arteries (MAPCAs)

VR movie showing the aorta in red with arrows marking the MAPCA locations. The heart and pulmonary arteries are grayscale.

One-day old female with major aortopulmonary collateral arteries (MAPCAs), a rare type of congenital heart defect.  Normally, the pulmonary arteries pump blood from the right ventricle of the heart to the lungs for oxygenation.  In the case of MAPCAs, collateral arteries, which pump blood to the lungs, branch directly off of the aorta.  These collaterals form in an attempt to compensate for hypoplastic (underdeveloped) native pulmonary arteries.

As is the case with this newborn, MAPCAs are often associated with Tetralogy of Fallot (a potentially fatal combination of 4 different heart defects that cause a lack of oxygen in the body).  It is sometimes possible to diagnose all of this in utero, and subsequent planning for intervention after the baby’s delivery initiated.

A surgery called unifocalization, performed soon after birth, can reroute the MAPCAs into the pulmonary artery in addition to repairing the Tetralogy of Fallot, restoring normal circulation from the lungs to the heart.

Using advanced software, the Stanford 3DQ technologist created volume rendered (VR) images of the aorta and CPRs (curved planar reformats) to assist physicians with visualization of the locations and courses of the MAPCAs. [Note: this patient has a right-sided aortic arch]

Watch a 3D simulation of unifocalization with LPCH’s Frank L. Hanley, M.D., who pioneered the procedure:


Jennifer Stege, RT (R) (M)
3DQ Technologist