An atrial septal defect (ASD) is a condition in which there is a hole between the upper chambers of the heart called the atria. The hole causes oxygen-rich blood from one chamber to blend with oxygen-poor blood in the other chamber. While every child has a hole between the two chambers to prevent blood from reaching the lungs, the hole is meant to close following birth, and it does in many patients.
In many cases, the ASD is small and benign. However, if the ASD is large, the heart and lungs may be forced to work harder, damaging them.
Keep reading to learn more about ASDs and the benefits of using cardiac catheterization to treat them.
How Is an ASD Diagnosed?
In babies who are born with ASDs, they are typically discovered through a heart murmur, which can be heard when listening to their heartbeat through a stethoscope.
Adults with an atrial septal defect may experience shortness of breath, fatigue, swelling in the legs or abdomen, heart palpitations, or a heart murmur.
If you experience any of these symptoms, a cardiologist can perform an echocardiogram, electrocardiogram, or other tests to diagnose the condition.
How Can a Cardiac Catheterization Repair an ASD?
Cardiac catheterization is a procedure to diagnose and treat heart conditions. When repairing an atrial septal defect, a catheter is inserted into a blood vessel, which will be carefully guided to the heart. Then, a small, flexible implant will be placed between the hole, closing the opening between the chambers.
As the body heals, new tissue will cover the implant, completely repairing the atrial septal defect. Cardiac catheterization is a less-invasive, safer procedure compared to others offered for ASD, such as open-heart surgery. It also requires minimal downtime and a simpler recovery.
Following your procedure, you may have to return to your cardiologist for regular checkups to ensure your heart is healthy and no other conditions have developed.
Learn More Today
If you’re experiencing any symptoms of an atrial septal defect, it’s important to visit an experienced cardiologist right away. While a procedure may not be necessary, a doctor can monitor your heart to ensure no issues develop.
At Premier Heart & Vein Care, Dr. Ken Stevens is board-certified in cardiovascular diseases, phlebology, and internal medicine. He can provide you with quality care and ensure your heart is healthy.
Contact our San Luis Obispo, CA, office today at 805-540-3333 to learn more.