The septum is a wall, which separates the heart’s left and right chambers. A defect between the two upper heart chambers (the atria) is called atrial septal defect. When there is a defect between the atria, blood will flow from the left upper chamber (left atrium) to the right atrium because of higher pressure in the left atrium. Thus more blood is pumped to the lungs and if left untreated will result in high pressure of the lung vessels (pulmonary hypertension).
Percutaneous Device Closure / Surgical intervention
The defect can be closed by device or surgical repair depending on the size of the defect and the presence of pulmonary hypertension. After the defect is closed, the patient will need regular follow-up with a cardiologist
Activity restrictions are unnecessary unless there are associated problems that you and your cardiologist have discussed. However, after ASD device closure, patient will be advised to refrain from strenuous activity and heavy lifting for at least 6 months
Prevention of Endocarditis
Antibiotic prophylaxis prior to dental or other surgical procedures is recommended for patients with unrepaired ASD especially if there are other associated heart defects, to prevent endocarditis (infection of inner layer of the heart). After ASD device closure or surgical repair, antibiotic prophylaxis is still required up to 6 – 12 months, depending on whether the defect has completely closed.
It is important to discuss any concerns regarding pregnancy or starting a family with your cardiologist.