Treating ASD (Atrial septal defect)

Treating ASD (Atrial septal defect)

Healthcare Tech Outlook | Thursday, July 21, 2022

ASD is a birth defect that causes a hole in the wall between the heart's upper chambers (atria).

FREMONT, CA: Atrial septal defects is a rare defect. Small ASDs may close on their own. However, medium-to-large-sized ASDs may need closure by device or surgical correction.


Some ASDs are diagnosed before or soon after a child is born. Still, smaller atrial septal defects may not be identified until later in life.

If an ASD is present, the health care provider may hear a hissing sound (heart murmur) when hearing the heart with a stethoscope.

Tests that are done to help the diagnosis of an atrial septal defect incorporate:

• Echocardiogram. This is the most generally used test to diagnose ASD. Sound waves are exploited to create pictures of the heart in gesture. An echocardiogram can show how well blood moves using the heart and heart valves.

• Chest X-ray. A chest X-ray displays the condition of the heart and lungs.

• Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG). This rapid and painless test records the electrical actions of the heart. An ECG can aid in identifying erratic heartbeats (arrhythmias).

• Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. This imaging test employs magnetic fields and radio waves to create thorough images of the heart. A health caretaker might request this type of MRI if echocardiography doesn't provide a definitive diagnosis.

• Computed tomography (CT) scan. This utilizes a series of X-rays to create detailed images of your heart. It can be used to diagnose atrial septal and related congenital heart defects if echocardiography hasn't diagnosed ASD.


Treatment for atrial septal defect relies on the size of the hole in the heart and whether you or your child has other inborn heart defects.

Several atrial septal defects close on their own during childhood. Therefore, some small atrial septal defects might not require treatment for those that don't close. However, a doctor specializing in heart diseases (cardiologists) might recommend monitoring it with normal health checkups to perceive if it closes on its own.

Your health caregiver will talk when you or your child requires treatment. Several persistent ASDs eventually require surgery. Still, closure isn't suggested if severe pulmonary hypertension exists.


Medications won't rectify an ASD but can help reduce signs and symptoms. For example, medications for atrial septal defect might include drugs to control the heartbeat (beta-blockers) or to lower the risk of blood clots (anticoagulants).

Surgery or other proceedings

Several cardiologists suggest surgery to repair a medium to large atrial septal defect diagnosed during childhood or adulthood to prevent future complications.

For adults and children, ASD repair surgery includes closing the hole in the heart. This can be done in two ways:

• Catheter-based repair. A thin, flexible tube (catheter) is implanted into a blood vessel, generally in the groin, and guided to the heart using imaging techniques. A mesh patch or plug is passed using the catheter to close the hole. Heart tissue grows around the seal, forever closing the hole.

• The catheter-found repair procedure is used only for the secundum type of ASDs. Some large secundum ASDs still might require open-heart surgery.

• Open-heart surgery. ASD repair surgery involves an incision through the chest wall to access the heart directly. The surgeons employ patches to close the hole. This open-heart restoration surgery is the only solution to fix primum, sinus venosus and coronary sinus atrial defects.

• Atrial septal defect repair can sometimes be done using small incisions (minimally invasive surgery) and robots (robot-assisted heart surgery).

Anyone who has had surgery for an atrial septal defect needs regular echocardiograms and health checkups to watch for possible complications, like irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias), heart valve issues, and high blood pressure in the lung arteries (pulmonary hypertension) & heart failure.

People with large ASDs who do not have surgery to close the hole normally have worse long-term outcomes. For example, they may have more difficulty performing everyday activities (reduced functional capacity) and are at greater risk for arrhythmias and pulmonary hypertension.

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