Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) refers to a hole in between the atria or the upper two chambers of the heart. It is a congenital heart defect where the two chambers are separated by a wall or septum which prevents the flow of blood from one chamber to the other. If not treated at the right time, ASD may lead to heart failure, high blood pressure, pulmonary hypertension, and a shorter life span. The most common form of ASD is Ostium Secundum comprising 6-10% of heart diseases at birth. This results from an enlarged foramen ovale, growth of the septum secundum, or absorption of the septum primum. Factors like genetic disorder, chromosome abnormality often result in heart ailment.
Common symptoms of ASD include fatigue, sweating, rapid breathing or breathlessness, poor growth, frequent respiratory infections, tiredness or lethargy. If diagnosed with ASD the following treatment methods are used: Echocardiogram- sound waves are used to produce video image of the heart which allows the doctor to have a look at the condition of your heart and its pumping strength; Electrocardiogram (ECG)- records the electrical activity and rhythm of your heart; chest X-ray- produces image to show the condition of your heart and lungs; Cardiac catheterization- the doctor diagnoses congenital heart defect by inserting a catheter into your blood vessel to test how well your heart and the valves are functioning; Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)- if ECG fails to detect ASD an MRI is used where magnetic field and radio waves create 3D images of your heart and other organs or tissues within your body; Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan- a series of X-ray create a detailed image of your heart, thereby detecting ASD.
If a person is diagnosed with symptoms of Atrial Septal Defect (ASD), the doctor usually recommends regular and frequent monitoring to see if the condition improves by itself. Various tests need to be performed to determine the condition of the disease. Depending on the health condition of the patient, necessary medications are prescribed.
Although medications do not function effectively in closing the hole in your heart, they may be helpful in reducing the complications at the time of a surgery. Certain medications like beta blockers help to keep your heartbeat regular, while anticoagulants reduce the risk of blood clots.
In most cases where children suffer from ASD, doctors recommend a surgery in order to prevent complication or risk at a later age. The two main types of surgeries considered appropriate are: Cardiac catheterization- a thin tube known as a catheter is inserted into the blood vessel in the groin or arm making its way to the heart. Through this catheter a plug is placed to close the hole. The heart tissue grows around the plug, permanently closing the hole; Open-heart surgery- during this surgery the patient has to be given anesthesia. The surgeon uses patches to seal the hole through an incision in the chest.
Atrial Sepal Defect (ASD) is a congenital heart disease which often results from genetic disorder and chromosome abnormality. Children or adults showing symptoms of ASD such as lethargy, fatigue, breathlessness, palpitation etc are eligible for the treatment.
People who do not show symptoms of Atrial Septal Defect, are not eligible for the treatment.
Atrial Septal Defect often lead to some side effects: Pulmonary hypertension- excessive blood flow to your lungs increases the pressure of blood in the lung arteries; Eisenmenger syndrome- this occurs when pulmonary hypertension lead to permanent lung damage and usually occurs over a period of time. Other side effects include shorter life span, stroke, right-sided heart failure, and heart rhythm abnormality.
There are no fixed guidelines to after the treatment. The doctor usually recommends certain medication, healthy diet and rest for at least a few weeks. Some physical exercises or activities may also be prescribed keeping in mind the patients’ health condition.
Recovery from Atrial Septal Defect surgery usually takes a few weeks keeping in mind the physical fitness and health condition of the patient. During this course of time, doctors recommend necessary medication and some sort of physical activity to keep your body active.
A surgery performed to treat Atrial Septal Defect normally yields permanent results. However, the surgery may lead to a few side effects or complications like pulmonary hypertension and eisenmenger syndrome.