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Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)

ASD a form of congenital heart defect that enables blood flow between the left and right atria via the interatrial septum. The interatrial septum is the tissue that divides the right and left atria. Without this septum, or if there is a defect in this septum, it is possible for blood to travel from the left side of the heart to the right side of the heart, or vice versa.

Visit CardioSmart.Org to learn more about Atrial Septal Defect (ASD).

Atrial septal defect (ASD) is a congenital heart defect, characterized by a hole in the muscular wall between the two upper chambers of the heart. During the development of the fetus, there is an opening between the upper chambers of the heart to allow blood to flow to the lungs. Normally the opening closes at the time of birth, but if it does not, the child is born with an atrial septal defect (ASD).

The causes for the development of atrial septal defects are not clear. However, genetic and environmental factors may contribute to the development of the birth defect. Your doctor may assess an atrial septal defect through echocardiography, chest X-rays and MRI scan.

Treatment of an ASD depends upon the type and size of the defect or presence of any other congenital heart defects. If an ASD is large, surgery to close the defect is recommended. ASD repair or closure may be performed through non-surgical methods or a surgical procedure. Depending upon your condition your surgeon determines the appropriate type of repair procedure.


The non-surgical closure of atrial septal defects (ASD) involves the following steps:

  • A tiny cut is made in the groin area.
  • A thin tube (catheter) is inserted into a blood vessel and guided to the heart.
  • An ASD closure device is attached to the catheter and advanced to the heart and through the defect under the guidance of X-ray and intra-cardiac echocardiogram.
  • The closure device is then placed across the ASD opening and the defect is closed. Eventually, heart tissue grows around the implant and becomes part of the heart tissue.

There are different types of devices available such as Amplatzer Septal Occluder and GORE HELIX Septal Occluder. Patients may return to their regular activities without any restrictions. Patients are advised to take their prescribed medication for the specified time span to prevent clots from forming on the device.

  • Web Med
  • North Cypress Medical Center
  • Memorial Hermann
  • American College of Cardiology
  • American Medical Association
  • Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America
  • Harris County Medical Society

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