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What is Atrial Septal Defect?

An atrial septal defect is a birth defect of the heart in which there’s a gap within the wall (septum) that divides the upper chambers (atria) of the heart. A hole can fluctuate in measurement and should close by itself or might require surgical procedure. An atrial septal defect is one sort of congenital heart defect. The meaning of Congenital is present at birth.

As a child’s heart develops throughout pregnancy, there are usually a number of openings within the wall dividing the upper chambers of the heart (atria). These normally close throughout pregnancy or shortly after birth.

If one of these openings doesn’t close, a hole is left, and it’s known as an atrial septal defect. The hole will increase the quantity of blood that flows via the lungs and over time, it might cause harm to the blood vessels within the lungs. Harm to the blood vessels within the lungs might cause issues in adulthood, such as high blood pressure within the lungs and heart failure. Different issues might include irregular heartbeat and an elevated risk of stroke.

Causes and risk factors

The causes of heart defects such as atrial septal defect amongst most infants are unknown. Some infants have heart defects due to modifications in their genes or chromosomes. These kinds of heart defects are also thought to be caused by a combination of genes and other risk factors, similar to things the mother comes in contact with within the surroundings or what the mother eats or drinks or the medicines the mother makes use of.

Diagnosis

Atrial septal

An atrial septal defect can be diagnosed throughout pregnancy or after the birth of the baby. In many cases, it is probably not recognized until adulthood.

During Pregnancy

During the time of pregnancy, there are screening tests (prenatal tests) to test for birth defects and other situations. An atrial septal defect is perhaps seen throughout an ultrasound (which creates images of the internal structures), however, it will depend on the dimensions of the hole and its location. If an atrial septal defect is suspected, a specialist may need to confirm the diagnosis.

After the Child is Born

An atrial septal defect is present at birth; however, many infants don’t have any signs or symptoms.

Signs and symptoms of a big or untreated atrial septal defect could include the following:

  • Frequent respiratory or lung infections
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Tiring when feeding (infants)
  • Shortness of breath when being energetic or exercising
  • Skipped heartbeats or a way of feeling the heartbeat
  • A heart murmur, or a whooshing sound that may be heard with a stethoscope
  • Swelling of legs, feet, or abdomen
  • Stroke

 

It may be possible that an atrial septal disorder may not be diagnosed until adulthood. The most common way to detect a atrial septal defect the murmur when listening to a person’s heartbeat with a stethoscope. If each murmur is heard and other symptoms are present, your healthcare provider might advise you one or more tests for the confirmation of the diagnosis. The most common diagnostic test is an echocardiogram that is the ultrasound of the heart.

Treatments

Treatment for an atrial septal defect depends upon the age of diagnosis, the variety of or seriousness of symptoms, size of the hole, and presence of other situations. Sometimes the surgical procedure is required to repair the hole. Sometimes medicines are prescribed to help treat symptoms. There are not any recognized drugs that may repair the hole.

If a baby is diagnosed with an atrial septal defect, the health care provider might need to monitor it for some time to see if the hole closes by itself. Throughout this time period, the health care provider may deal with symptoms with medication.

A health care provider might recommend the atrial septal defect be closed for a kid with a large atrial septal defect, even when there are few symptoms, to stop problems later in life. Closure might also be really helpful for a grownup who has many or extreme signs. Closure of the hole can be done during cardiac catheterization or open-heart surgery. After these procedures, follow-up care will depend upon the dimensions of the defect, individual’s age, and whether or not the individual has other birth defects.

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