When you find out that your child has an atrial septal defect, also referred to as an ASD, you want to know how to take care of it, immediately. At Children’s Heart Center, we get you in to see one of our expert pediatric cardiologists quickly. Our doctors specialize in treating babies and children with all types of heart conditions, including congenital (present at birth) heart defects like ASD.
We help you understand your child’s heart and how an ASD may affect his or her overall health. And we make sure that your child gets an accurate diagnosis and the treatment needed. That’s what we’re here for.
An atrial septal defect (ASD) is a hole between the two upper chambers of the heart (the atria). An ASD occurs when the wall between the right atrium and the left atrium does not form completely. Larger ASDs allow too much blood to flow from the left atrium to the right atrium, and that extra blood goes to the lungs.
Just as each child is unique, each ASD is unique to that child. Treatment depends on the size and location of the hole in the atrial wall.
Most ASDs are:
Other types of ASDs include:
Many children with an atrial septal defect have no symptoms at all. However, other children may experience the following symptoms:
If your child has an ASD with extra blood flow to the lungs, this may produce a heart murmur, which is a whooshing sound in the heart that your child’s doctor can detect during a routine checkup.
While your child may have no symptoms of an ASD, we may recommend repair for defects that are large enough to cause too much blood to go to the lungs. We usually recommend repair during early childhood. If left untreated, a child may eventually develop an abnormal heart rhythm or high pressure in the lungs, and early repair can prevent that. Once a child develops this abnormal heart rhythm, it is difficult to treat, even if the ASD is closed.
What is an Atrial Septal Defect?
To diagnose an ASD and determine the exact size and location of the hole, your child will have some of the following tests:
Many small ASDs may close on their own and require no treatment. Even if small ASDs do not close on their own, they usually don’t need treatment because they do not allow excessive blood to go to the lungs.
For larger holes, that allow excessive blood to go to the lungs, there are two ways to close them, cardiac catheterization, and surgery.
We can close secundum ASDs with a heart catheterization. However, if your child has a very large or more complex secundum ASDs, we may need to perform surgery to close them.
Other types of ASDs that require surgical closure include sinus venous ASDs and primum ASDs.
Successful closure of your child’s ASD will restore the heart’s normal blood flow.
Additional procedures or interventions should not be necessary. However, we advise you to you continue follow-up care with your child’s pediatric cardiologist. At Children’s Heart Center, we are always available to care for your child.
Children’s Heart Center is an alliance between Mount Sinai and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). This innovative alliance brings together the expertise of two world-leading institutions for the best possible outcomes. Together, we offer the most effective treatment and compassionate cardiac care for your child here in New York City.
At Mount Sinai, our pediatric cardiologists are highly experienced in diagnosing, monitoring, and treating childhood heart disorders, including atrial septal defects. We are available to meet with you at your convenience to explain your child’s condition and your options for care. We treat your child with tenderness and expertise, and we offer comfort and compassion to you and your family as you focus on the health of your child.
Our Children’s Heart Center in New York City offers the finest and most personalized care for your child, achieving outstanding results. Here, you know your child is in good hands.