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Pediatric Cardiology - Atrial Septal Defect

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​An Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) is a congenital heart defect (the child is born with it). It is a hole in the heart wall that separates the two upper chambers of the heart (atria). 

If the hole is small, the heart may be able to handle the problem without complication. If the hole is large, an increased amount of blood is returned to the lungs. 

Marshfield Clinic has three pediatric cardiologists to diagnose and recommend treatment for any child with a congenital heart defect.


Certain ASDs may close on their own in the first few years of life. A pediatric cardiologist will check the child's heart regularly to see if the ASD has closed on its own. 

If the ASD is large or doesn't close on its own by the time the child is school-aged, a repair may be suggested.

Cardiac Catheterization
Cardiac catheterization is done on the heart using a thin, flexible tube called a catheter. The catheter is inserted into a blood vessel in the groin. 

With the help of live x-rays, the catheter is advanced up through the blood vessel until it reaches the heart. A closing device is used to close the ASD. 

It's delivered by the catheter and placed in the ASD. Then the catheter is removed leaving the occluding device behind.

Through open heart surgery, the ASD is repaired with either stitches or a patch.​​

Contact us for care

If this is a medical emergency, call 911.

Call: 1-866-520-2510

(Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.)

What Do You Know About Birth Defects?

See how much you know about birth defects. Learn what you can do to lower your risk.

1. How many babies in the U.S. are born with birth defects?
2. When is an unborn baby most at risk of developing a birth defect?
3. Which of these is a common birth defect?
4. Which of these habits of the mother-to-be can be harmful to the fetus?
5. A woman who is pregnant or considering pregnancy should get a health checkup. Which of these vaccines should be up to date before she gets pregnant because of the danger of the disease to the fetus?
6. Healthcare providers advise women to take 400 mcg of folic acid daily before they get pregnant and during pregnancy. What can this help prevent in the baby?
7. Pregnant women should not handle cat litter to lower the risk of becoming infected with which of these?
8. Which of these kinds of medicines can cause birth defects if taken when pregnant?
9. During prenatal care, a healthcare provider may recommend genetic screening tests for certain disorders. What is one thing that amniocentesis tests for?
10. Extra or missing chromosomes trigger genetic birth defects. What factor greatly increases the risk for an abnormal number of chromosomes in the fetus?