Atrial septal defect
Atrial septal defect (ASD) is a kind of congenital heart defect that enables blood flow between the left and right atria via the interatrial septum. The interatrial septum is the tissue that divides the right and left atria. Without this septum, or if there is a defect in this septum, it is possible for blood to travel from the left side of the heart to the right side of the heart, or vice versa. This results in the mixing of arterial and venous blood, which may or may not be clinically significant. This mixture of blood may or may not result in what is known as a "shunt".
There are different types of atrial septal defects such as
- Ostium secundum atrial septal defect
- Sinus venosus atrial septal defect
- Common or single atrium
- Mixed atrial septal defect
Signs and Symptoms
Symptoms that do occur may begin at any time after birth through childhood, and can include:
- Difficulty breathing (dyspnea)
- Frequent respiratory infections in children
- Sensation of feeling the heart beat in adults
- Shortness of breath
While the baby is in the womb, there is normally an opening between the upper chambers of the heart (atria) to allow blood to flow around the lungs. This opening usually closes around the time when the baby is born. If the opening does not close, the hole is called an atrial septal defect, or ASD.
The very first thing doctors do is to wait for a period of time to see if it closes on its own, while using medications. Many atrial septal defects close their own during childhood. For those that don't close, some small atrial septal defects don't cause any problems and may not require any treatment. But many persistent atrial septal defects eventually require surgery to be corrected.
- Paediatric cardiology department at Max Healthcare provides all non-invasive diagnostic and paediatric cardiac interventional services.
- Cardiac catheterization. A thin tube (catheter) is inserted into a blood vessel in the groin and guided to the heart. Through the catheter, a mesh patch or plug is put into place to close the hole. The heart tissue grows around the mesh, permanently sealing the hole.
- Open-heart surgery. This type of surgery is done under general anesthesia and requires the use of a heart-lung machine. Through an incision in the chest, surgeons use patches or stitches to close the hole.