What is Atrial Septal Defect in Children?
Atrial septal defect (ASD) is a hole in the wall (septum) that separates the upper chambers of the heart, called atria. This defect allows oxygen-rich and oxygen-poor blood to mix. This reduces the amount of oxygen going through the body.
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Signs & Symptoms
Atrial septal defect in children can cause a range of symptoms including:
- Poor weight gain
- Shortness of breath
- An abnormal heart murmur
If the hole grows larger, children may experience additional symptoms including:
- Chest pain
- Rapid breathing
- Bluish tint to the skin, lips, and fingernails
Risk factors for ASD in children include:
- Genetic mutations that alter heart development
- Improper formation of the fetal heart during pregnancy
- Infection with certain virus
- Maternal diabetes
- Medical conditions in the mother during pregnancy
Physicians will use a variety of tests and imaging techniques to diagnose ASD. These include:
- Physical examination
- Cardiac Catheterization
- Chest X-rays
The treatment for atrial septal defect (ASD) in children depends on the size and location of the defect.
- Smaller holes may not require any treatment.
- Larger holes may require a minimally invasive procedure known as device occlusion that involves the placement of a small device through a catheter that seals the defect.
- Medication can sometimes help reduce symptoms.
- Open-heart surgery may be warranted to close the hole in the septum with sutures.
CHRISTUS Children's - The Heart Center
CHRISTUS Children's specializes in pediatric care for infants, children and adolescents as well as maternal and fetal care for women with high-risk and routine pregnancies. From birth to age 18, CHRISTUS Children’s provides comprehensive, coordinated care from a team of pediatric and maternal experts.