An atrial septal defect (ASD) is a medical condition where there is a hole in the wall of the septum. The septum is the muscular wall that separates the two upper chambers of the heart, called the atria. An atrial septal defect is a defect that is present at birth. It occurs when the septum doesn't form properly.
In most cases, babies born with atrial septal defects don't have any symptoms, but symptoms may start showing in adulthood. Atrial septal defect symptoms may include:
Seek immediate medical assistance if you or your child experience shortness of breath and getting tired easily, especially during or after an activity, swelling of the legs, feet or abdomen, and experiencing irregular heartbeats.
Dr Dongo may recommend surgery if you have been diagnosed with a medium to a large atrial defect during childhood or in adulthood. This will then prevent future complications such as right-sided heart failure, heart rhythm abnormalities, increased stroke risk or shortened life span. If you have severe pulmonary hypertension, surgery will not be recommended it may worsen your condition.
Surgery for both adults and children involves sewing closed or patching the abnormal opening on the septum wall. Dr Dongo will evaluate the condition and determine which of the following procedures to use: