Atrial septal defect closure (ASD closure) is an invasive procedure that involves making an incision in the chest to surgically repair a heart defect.

Atrial Septal Defect

An atrial septal defect is a heart condition that is present at birth and occurs when the wall between the upper chambers of the heart (atria) doesn't fully close, resulting in a hole. As a result, an excessive amount of blood flows from the left atrium to the right atrium, causing the heart to work harder.

Atrial septal defects are typically detected during childhood when a murmur (an extra heart sound) is heard during a physical examination. In some cases, small holes may close on their own by the time a child is 2 years old. However, for some individuals, the defect may not cause symptoms until later in life.

Signs and symptoms

  • Heart murmur, heart rhythm abnormalities (arrhythmias)
  • Bluish skin color.
  • Shortness of breath, fatigue
  • Swelling of the legs
  • Frequent lung infections
  • Stroke

If left unrepaired, a large atrial septal defect can cause damage to the heart and lungs over time. The extra blood flow to the right side of the heart can lead to weakened heart (heart failure) and irregular heartbeat (arrhythmias).

Risks and Complications

The risks associated with an atrial septal defect closure include the following:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Pericarditis (inflammation of the outer lining of the heart)
  • Adverse reaction to the medication given
  • Arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat)
  • Blood clots that can lead to stroke, heart attack, or other problems
  • Death

Inform your doctor if you experience any issues, such as:

  • Bleeding, new bruising, or swelling at the incision site
  • Signs of infection such as redness, drainage, or fever
  • Chest pain or shortness of breath

Alternative Treatments

  • Medication
  • Atrial septal defect closure (minimally invasive device closure)