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Atrial Septal Defect / Hole in Heart – Things You Should Know (1)


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Title: Atrial Septal Defect / Hole in Heart – Things You Should Know (1)

Atrial Septal Defect / Hole in Heart Things You
Should Know
  • Atrial Septal Defect (ASD), commonly known
    as Hole in Heart, is a congenital disorder of the
    heart that involves a hole in the wall (septum)
    that divides the two upper chambers of the heart.
  • The freshly oxygenated blood in the upper left
    chamber of the heart (or left atrium) flow into
    the upper right chamber (right atrium), causing
    mixing of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood.
  • If the hole is large, the extra volume of blood
    that is pumped from the right side of the heart
    can lead to the following

  • Weakening of right side of the heart.
  • Overfilling of lungs and overworking of heart.
  • Increased blood pressure in lungs, leading to
    pulmonary hypertension.

What are the causes ASD?
  • A normal heart is divided into 4 chambers 2
    upper chambers known as Atria 2 lower chambers
    known as Ventricles.
  • At birth, the 2 atria are connected through a
    small opening known as the foramen ovale, which
    gets sealed gradually with time through the
    formation of the atrial septum.
  • Atrial septal defect occurs if the atrial septum
    is not formed completely during foetal
    development or does not close the hole properly.
  • Prolonged opening of the foramen ovule results in
    the excessive blood flow to the lungs and high
    blood pressure.

  • As per an experienced cardiac surgeon,The
    disorder takes place at about 5 weeks of
    pregnancy when heart development generally takes
    place. Genetics and environmental factors are
    also thought to play a role in development of the
    disorder. It is not possible to prevent atrial
    septal defects but one can take precautions and
    guidance on immunity, current health condition
    and family medical history from a health care
    provider if planning a pregnancy in the near

  • Congenital heart defects run in families and may
    have a genetic linkage with disorders like the
    Downs syndrome.
  • The doctor can guide people about the chances of
    having children with a heart defect if they or
    their older children suffer from one.
  • Further, a rubella infection and consumption of
    alcohol or drugs during pregnancy can harm the
    foetus and increase the risk of having a baby
    with ASD.
  • Get the Cost estimate of ASD Surgery in India

What are the symptoms of ASD?
  • Heart murmur (whooshing sound heard through a
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling of feet, legs or abdomen
  • Bluish skin colour
  • Stroke

How is ASD diagnosed?
  • Following tests may be conducted to diagnose ASD
  • Echocardiogram  Often the first test done for
    ASD, an electrocardiogram converts sound waves to
    video images of the heart. This allows the doctor
    to measure pumping strength of the heart
    chambers, valves and signs of heart defects.
  • ECG  This method can identify heart rhythm
    problems by monitoring electrical activity of the
  • Cardiac Catheterization  The doctor can check
    the hearts pumping action and functioning of
    heart valves by inserting a catheter into a blood
    vessel in the groin or arm and guiding it to the
  • Coronary Angiography  This method is used on
    patients aged 35 years or more. Blood flow
    through the hearts arteries is determined using
    a special dye and x-rays.

  • Diagnosis during pregnancy
  • For pregnant women, foetal echocardiography will
    be conducted as part of routine antenatal
    examinations. An ultrasound scanner creates a
    picture of the babys heart, which is useful in
    identifying any congenital heart disease.
  • Read about the relationship between Pregnancy and
    Heart Problems

What are the treatment options for ASD?
  • Treatment of ASD depends on the size of the hole
    in an adult or a childs heart.
  • Small defect may not require any treatment as
    these may close on its own during childhood.
  • However, in cases of large septal defects,
    medication and surgery may be required.
  • Medications  Medications do not treat the hole,
    but relieve some symptoms and reduce risk of
    complication post surgery. Patients may be
    prescribed medicines for keeping their heart beat
    regular (beta blockers and digoxin) or reducing
    the risk of blood clots (anticoagulants like
    warfarin and aspirin).

  • Surgery  Surgical repair, for both children and
    adults, involves plugging the opening between the
    atria, through two methods
  • Cardiac catheterization  A plug or patch is
    guided through a catheter put in a blood vessel
    (groin) and placed at the site of the hole. Heart
    tissue grows around the mesh and seals it
  • Open-heart surgery  Performed under general
    anaesthesia, the surgeon will stitch or use
    patches to seal the hole.
  • Get ASD Surgery Cost in India from NABH JCI
    accredited hospitals.

What are the known complications due to ASD?
  • Congenital heart diseases like ASD are prone to
    further problems like
  • Developmental issues in children Delay in
    development, learning difficulty due to poor
    oxygen supply during early life that affects
    brain development.
  • Respiratory tract infections
  • Endocarditis
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Heart rhythm problem and heart failure
  • Blood clots

  • Sudden cardiac death
  • If a patient suffers from other heart defects
    too, s/he may be prone to developing infective
    endocarditis (infection due to growth of bacteria
    on the surface of the heart).
  • Antibiotics may be required before any surgical
    or dental procedures.
  • It is essential to keep ones heart healthy by
    taking a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and
    whole grains, and avoiding cholesterol, saturated
    fats and sodium rich foods.
  • Persons affected by atrial septal defect can
    discuss the permissible level of physical
    activity for their condition with their doctor.
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