Atrial Septal Defect Surgical Repair

What you should know

Atrial septal defect (ASD) surgery is done to close a hole in the septum (wall) between the upper chambers of your heart. The upper chambers are called the right atrium and the left atrium.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

Risks

You may bleed more than expected, get an infection, or have trouble breathing. Air bubbles in your blood could cause a stroke. Your heart muscle or valves could be damaged. You could have problems with your heartbeat or you could have a heart attack. You may get a blood clot in your leg or arm. This may become life-threatening. Without surgery, your shortness of breath and fatigue could get worse. Blood and fluid could build up in your lungs and you may develop heart failure.

Getting Ready

The week before your surgery:

  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your surgery.

  • Arrange a ride home. Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your surgery or procedure. Do not drive yourself home.

  • Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.

  • Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.

  • You may need blood or imaging tests before your surgery. Talk to your caregiver about these or other tests you may need. Write down the date, time, and location for each test.

  • You may be able to donate your own blood before surgery. This must be done no later than 3 days before surgery. You may also ask a family member or friend with the same blood type to donate their blood. Talk to your caregiver for more information on blood donation.

The night before your surgery:

  • You may be given medicine to help you sleep.

  • Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.

The day of your surgery:

  • Ask your caregiver before you take any medicine on the day of your surgery. Bring a list of all the medicines you take, or your pill bottles, with you to the hospital. Caregivers will check that your medicines will not interact poorly with the medicine you need for surgery.

  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.

  • Caregivers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.

  • An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. You may need medicine to keep you asleep or numb an area of your body during surgery. Tell caregivers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.

Treatment

What will happen:

You will be given general anesthesia to keep you completely asleep during surgery. You will be connected to a heart-lung machine that does the work of your heart and lungs during surgery. An incision will be made in your chest. Another incision is made in the right atrium. The hole in the septum is closed with stitches, or a patch will be sewn over it. The patch may be a man-made material or a piece of heart tissue taken from the outside of your heart. The heart-lung machine will be stopped and your own heart and lungs will start working again. The incision in your chest will be closed with wire and stitches or staples.

After your surgery:

You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. Caregivers will monitor you closely for any problems. A bandage will cover your stitches or staples. This bandage keeps the area clean and dry to prevent infection. A caregiver may remove the dressing shortly after surgery to check the stitches. Do not get out of bed until your caregiver says it is okay. When your caregiver sees that you are okay, you will be taken to your hospital room.

Contact a caregiver if

  • You cannot make it to your surgery.

  • You have a fever.

  • You get a cold or the flu.

  • You have questions or concerns about your surgery.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • The problems for which you are having the surgery get worse.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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