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Atrial Septal Defect

What is an Atrial Septal Defect?

There are several types of ASD’s which are differentiated from each other by which structures of the heart are involved. These are congenital defects (from birth) which are often corrected in infancy if necessary depending on symptoms and the type. The most common type, ostium secundum or patent foramen ovale (PFO) are often asymptomatic and may be diagnosed incidentally on echocardiography. If symptoms develop, they usually occur by 40 yrs of age and include fatigue, palpitations, and syncope. If  lesion is large and goes untreated complications such as pulmonary hypertension, heart failure, and stroke (paradoxical embolism) may occur.

How is it Treated?

Your cardiologist often in conjunction with your heart surgeon will determine if and what type of repair is necessary. It can occasionally be treated by an occlusion device in the cath lab or it may require surgical correction. If surgery is necessary, it requires open heart surgery and use of the heart – lung machine to repair the defect. It may be closed primarily with suture if small or may require a patch closure.

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