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Atrial septal defect

comunicacio interauricular a Vall d'Hebron

It is a hole in the partition that separates the two atria and that causes the right side of the heart to be overloaded. Children with ASD do not show symptoms, even though the right side of the body has to work with a much larger volume of blood.


What is atrial septal defect?

Depending on the position of the atrial septal defect, ASD is classified into three types:

  • “Ostium secundum”
  • If venous
  • “Ostium Primum”

“Ostium Primum” is considered a different defect due to the damage associated with it.


Who does atrial septal defect affect?

ASD is one of the most common heart defects (6-10%) and is more common in women.



In most cases, children with ASD show no symptoms. For this reason, it is detected when listening to the heart during a routine examination detects a heart murmur. In that case, an echocardiogram should be carried out on the patient to identify the defect and determine treatment options.


Typical treatment

When the defect is small with no significant blood flow no procedure may be necessary. On the other hand, if this is significant, the characteristics of the ASD must be assessed to decide if it is necessary to close it via catheterization or surgery.

Closure via catheterization consists of inserting a device to close the defect and stop blood passing from one chamber of the heart to the other.

When the defect is large or its shape prevents the percutaneous device entering, this closure must be performed through surgery. The procedure consists of fitting a patch over the hole in the partition, made either from synthetic material or tissue taken from the patient themselves.  

Children who have undergone ASD closure have a similar life expectancy and quality of life to healthy patients. In fact, the survival rate is over 99.7%. In contrast, patients with ASD who do not undergo surgery see a decline in their life expectancy after forty years old.

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