Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)
Javad Al Aeme
Brief Info about Javad Al Aeme Hospital
Javad Al Aeme hospital was founded in April 2000 on an area of 9645 square meters. The hospital is located in north-east of Iran in the city of Mashhad and is determined to provide health care for its patients, at the most exceptional level in heart and vascular care field in the country.
All of us are born with an opening between the upper heart chambers. It's a normal fetal opening that allows blood to detour away from the lungs before birth. Afterwards, the opening is not necessary anymore and normally closes within some weeks or months. In some cases, the opening is so large and may not close after birth. Genetics and environmental factors are held to be the major reasons.
Naturally, oxygenated blood flows from the left upper chamber of the heart into the right upper chamber of the heart. Nonetheless, because of an atrial septal defect, This kind of blood will be mixed with deoxygenated blood and is pumped to the lungs. If the ASD is too large, the excess blood will overfill the lungs and pressurizes the heart. If not cured immediately, the right side of the heart weakens. The blood pressure in your lungs might also increase which results in pulmonary hypertension.
The main kinds of ASDs include:
- Secundum: It is the most common type of ASD which occurs in the middle of the wall between the atria.
- Primum: This defect typically occurs in the lower part of the atrial septum and may cause other heart problems as well.
- Sinus venosus: This defect might rarely occur in the upper part of the atrial septum.
- Coronary sinus: In this rare defect, part of the wall between the coronary sinus and the left atrium is missing.
Fortunately, majority of women with an ASD can become pregnant without any problems. Nonetheless, if they suffer from a large defect or serious complications like heart failure, arrhythmias or pulmonary hypertension, there will be a higher risk of further complications during pregnancy. Surgeons strongly advise women with Eisenmenger syndrome not to get pregnant because it endangers their lives.
By the way, before thinking of pregnancy, you should schedule an appointment with your health care provider to make sure that it won’t cause further problems for you in the future. During your consultation, doctors will go over your overall health conditions and medications you take. In addition, they will identify all signs and symptoms you have to control them through a suitable treatment option.
It highly depends on the severity of the defect. If the ASD is small, or has been treated through catheterization or surgery, you might not have any special limitation about doing physical activities. However, the cardiologist may notice some problems in the follow-up appointments and restrict the activities you conduct on a regular basis. Sometimes, certain medicines will be prescribed to prevent blood clots or infection.
Doctors mostly cure a large ASD in early childhood, even in patients with few symptoms to prevent complications in the future. These defects are usually closed with a patch of pericardium or synthetic material such as Dacron. However, some of them might have been sewn without using a patch. If ASDs are diagnosed early in childhood, complications are fairly uncommon.
It depends. If the opening is small, treatments are not necessary since the defects have not caused serious problems so far. However, large ASDs must be cured either with a cardiac catheterization or a surgery.