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 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.