Atrial Septal Defect

What is Atrial Septal Defect?

The atrial septal defect (ASD) is a hole in the wall between the two upper chambers of the heart. There are two types of defect associated with the atrial septal - large atrial septal defect and small atrial septal defect. The large atrial septal defect may cause a major damage to the heart and lungs, whereas small atrial septal defect may occur incidentally, and may not be harmful or cause a problem. An individual whose atrial septal defect remains undetected for some time might face a shorter span of life because of a heart failure, or blood pressure that is unreasonably high and might even affect the working of arteries in the lungs. The atrial septal defect occurs in the interatrial septum, allowing pulmonary venous return from the left atrium to pass directly to the right atrium. It is a heart defect that is present from birth.


In some individuals, symptoms begin by the age of 30, and in some, the symptoms do not manifest at all. However, the symptoms of this disease shall vary depending upon factors such as age.

  • Breathlessness, especially when doing a physical activity.
  • Extreme exhaustion.
  • Inflammation in the abdomen or legs.
  • Infections in the lungs.
  • Stroke.
  • Unusual murmur of the heart, which can be detected through a stethoscope.
  • Skipped heartbeats.



The cause for atrial septal defect is unknown. The defects are believed to be acquired by a fusion of some genes, and other concerns. For instance, the kind of things the mother acquires in contact with her surroundings, or the kind of diet she is taking, or the medicines she is consuming.



The main risk factors of the disease include:

  • Diabetes.
  • Obesity.
  • Rubella infection.



In order to prevent the occurrence of this disease, one should take care of the following:

  • Going through current health conditions and medications.
  • Reviewing family medical history.
  • Getting tested for immunity to any virus.

How is it diagnosed?

This defect is diagnosed when the baby is born. At Medanta, if a defect like this is doubted, the doctor might first confirm the diagnosis through the following tests


How is it treated?

At Medanta, following are the procedures used to treat the disease:


  • Cardiac Catheterization

    The procedure is designed to minimize its effects without the surgery. It requires locating the ASD closure device in the heart through thin flexible tubes called catheters. The experts make a small cut in the groin and run the catheter through the blood vessel into the heart. The ASD closure device is positioned across the ASD to close it.

  • Open-heart surgery

    An open-heart surgery will be required to remove the defect, depending upon how intense it is in nature, its size, and its position in the heart.

When do I contact the doctor?

You should immediately contact a doctor, when you begin to face symptoms like breathlessness, inflammation, exhaustion, and stroke. All these symptoms will be treated just right with the help of our medical expertise at Medanta.

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