About Atrial Septal Defects

What is Atrial Septal Defects?

Atrial septal defects (ASD) are a type of congenital heart defect in which there is a hole in the wall (septum) between the two upper chambers (atria) of the heart. This hole allows oxygen-rich blood from the left atrium to flow into the right atrium, instead of flowing to the rest of the body. This can cause an abnormal increase in blood flow to the lungs, leading to symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, and rapid breathing. In some cases, the defect can be repaired with surgery.

What are the symptoms of Atrial Septal Defects?

Common symptoms of Atrial Septal Defects (ASD) include shortness of breath, fatigue, palpitations, chest pain, and a heart murmur. Other symptoms may include dizziness, fainting, and swelling in the legs, ankles, and feet. In some cases, there may be no symptoms at all.

What are the causes of Atrial Septal Defects?

Atrial septal defects (ASDs) are caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Genetic factors include mutations in genes that are involved in the development of the heart, such as GATA4, NKX2-5, and TBX5. Environmental factors include maternal smoking, alcohol consumption, and certain medications taken during pregnancy.

What are the treatments for Atrial Septal Defects?

Atrial Septal Defects (ASD) can be treated with either open-heart surgery or a minimally invasive procedure called a transcatheter closure. Open-heart surgery involves making an incision in the chest and repairing the defect with a patch or sutures. The transcatheter closure procedure involves inserting a device through a catheter into the heart to close the defect. In some cases, medications may be prescribed to help manage symptoms.

What are the risk factors for Atrial Septal Defects?

1. Family history of congenital heart defects
2. Maternal diabetes
3. Maternal use of certain medications during pregnancy
4. Maternal exposure to certain environmental toxins during pregnancy
5. Maternal age over 35
6. Maternal obesity
7. Maternal alcohol use during pregnancy
8. Maternal smoking during pregnancy
9. Maternal use of certain illicit drugs during pregnancy
10. Maternal viral infection during pregnancy

Is there a cure/medications for Atrial Septal Defects?

Atrial septal defects can be treated with medications, surgery, or a combination of both. Medications such as diuretics and ACE inhibitors can be used to reduce the amount of fluid in the lungs and improve symptoms. Surgery is the most common treatment for atrial septal defects and involves closing the hole in the septum with a patch or device. In some cases, a catheter-based procedure may be used to close the hole.