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An atrial septal defect (ASD) is a hole in the wall between the atria, the two upper chambers of the heart. An ASD may close on its own without any treatment. Small ASDs close on their own as often as 80% of the time. Medication won’t shrink an ASD or repair it.
If the ASD is still present as your child gets older, it may need to be repaired. One way to repair an ASD is through open heart surgery. Another way, if the ASD is small enough, is to have an interventional cardiologist perform the repair using a catheter to implant a device that closes the hole. This kind of procedure avoids open heart surgery.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved devices for ASD repairs.
The interventional cardiologist precisely threads a catheter through a large blood vessel to the heart and through the ASD. The device is then opened and positioned in the atrial septal defect, blocking the hole.
Potential benefits of this procedure include:
With advances in interventional cardiology, open heart surgery to repair ASDs has become less common in recent years.
However, if the position of the ASD makes an interventional cardiology procedure less effective, if your child has other heart defects, or if the ASD is too large, open heart surgery may be the only repair option.
If open heart surgery is needed, the surgeon may be able to close the hole with stitches. For larger ASDs, repair usually requires a patch. This patch can be taken from the pericardium (the sac that surrounds the heart) or made of synthetic material.
Norton Children’s Heart Institute, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, is the leading provider of pediatric heart care in Louisville and Southern Indiana. We have the pediatric cardiologists, interventional pediatric cardiologists, and pediatric cardiothoracic surgeons available to decide which treatment option will be best to address your child’s ASD.
Norton Children’s has a network of outreach diagnostic and treatment services conveniently located throughout Kentucky and Southern Indiana.
In more than 99% of cases, patients have no complications after an ASD repair. Success rates also are high for catheter device placements.
Most children have no difficulty with physical activity or restrictions after ASD repair.
Your child will need to continue with regular follow-up appointments with a pediatric cardiologist to make sure issues do not occur as your child ages or in adulthood.