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ucm 307647 .pdf



Nombre del archivo original: ucm_307647.pdf
Título: Note: before reading the specific defect information and the image(s) that are associated with them, it will be helpful to review normal heart function
Autor: gloria.chichakli

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Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)
Note: before reading the specific defect information and the image(s) that are associated
with them, it will be helpful to review normal heart function.
What is it?
An ASD is an opening or hole (defect) in the wall
(septum) between the heart’s two upper chambers
(atria).
What causes it?
Every child is born with an opening between the upper
heart chambers. It’s a normal fetal opening that allows
blood to detour away from the lungs before birth. After
birth, the opening is no longer needed and usually
closes or becomes very small within several weeks or
months.
Sometimes the opening is larger than normal and
doesn’t close after birth. In most children the cause
isn’t known. Some children can have other heart
defects along with ASD.
How does it affect the heart?
Normally, the left side of the heart only pumps blood to the body, and the right side of the heart
only pumps blood to the lungs. In a child with ASD, blood can travel across the hole from the
left upper heart chamber (left atrium) to the right upper chamber (right atrium) and out into the
lung arteries.
If the ASD is large, the extra blood being pumped into the lung arteries makes the heart and
lungs work harder and the lung arteries can become gradually damaged.
If the hole is small, it may not cause symptoms or problems. Many healthy adults still have a
small leftover opening in the wall between the atria, sometimes called a Patent Foramen Ovale
(PFO).
How does the ASD affect my child?
Children with an ASD often have no symptoms. If the opening is small, it won’t cause symptoms
because the heart and lungs don’t have to work harder. If the opening is large, the only abnormal
finding may be a murmur (noise heard with a stethoscope) and other abnormal heart sounds. In
children with a large ASD, the main risk is to the blood vessels in the lungs because more blood
than normal is being pumped there. Over time, usually many years, this may cause permanent
damage to the lung blood vessels.

© 2009, American Heart Association

Page 1 of 3

Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)
Can the ASD be repaired?
If the opening is small, it doesn’t make the heart and lungs work harder. Surgery and other
treatments may not be needed. Small ASDs that are discovered in infants often close or narrow
on their own. There isn’t any medicine that will make the ASD get smaller or close any faster
than it might do naturally.
If the ASD is large, it can be closed with open-heart surgery, or by cardiac catheterization using
a device inserted into the opening to plug it. Sometimes, if the ASD is an unusual position
within the heart, or if there are other heart defects such as abnormal connections of the veins
bringing blood from the lungs back to the heart (pulmonary veins), the ASD can’t be closed with
the catheter technique. Then surgery is needed.
Closing a large ASD by open-heart surgery usually is done in early childhood, even in patients
with few symptoms, to prevent complications later. Many defects can be sewn closed without
using a patch.

What activities can my child do?
Your child may not need any special precautions and may be able to participate in normal
activities without increased risk. After surgery or catheter closure, your child’s pediatric
cardiologist may advise some activity changes for a short time. But after successful healing from
surgery or catheter closure, no restrictions are usually needed. Sometimes medicines to prevent
blood clots and infection are used for a few months after ASD closure.
What will my child need in the future?
Depending on the type of ASD, your child’s pediatric cardiologist may examine your child
periodically to look for uncommon problems. For a short time after surgery to close an ASD, a
pediatric cardiologist must regularly examine the child. The long-term outlook is excellent, and
usually no medicines and no additional surgery or catheterization are needed.
© 2009, American Heart Association

Page 2 of 3

Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)
What about preventing endocarditis?
Most children with an ASD are not at increased risk for developing endocarditis. Your child’s
cardiologist may recommend that your child receive antibiotics before certain dental procedures
for a period of time after ASD repair. See the section on endocarditis for more information.

© 2009, American Heart Association

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