Also referred to as "a hole in the heart," a septal defect involves blood improperly flowing between the heart's left and right chambers due to an opening in the wall that separates the two sides (the septum). There are several types of septal defects:
Children born with atrial septal defect may not have any symptoms early in life but may develop complications later. In the other cases, symptoms may include (depending upon the defect):
Treatment depends upon the severity of the defect. If treatment is required, non-surgical (percutaneous) repair or surgical repair of the opening is typically successful in restoring normal circulation.
The Structural Heart Program at UR Medicine Heart & Vascular excels at non-surgical ASD repair. Prior to the procedure, a patient will have a cardiac catheterization to assess the exact size and location of the defect. During the procedure, a closure device is attached to a catheter which is inserted into a vein in the thigh and advanced to the heart and through the defect with the guidance of X-ray and intracardiac echo imaging. The cardiologist will push the closure device out of the catheter slowly so that it opens to cover each edge of the defect, sealing it closed. Over time, scar tissue grows over the closure device and it becomes part of the heart.
As the only institution in the area that is part of an academic medical center, UR Medicine Heart & Vascular is involved in the latest treatment and research on septal defects.
For more information on atrial septal defects and closure repair, call UR Medicine Heart & Vascular at (585) -275-6161.