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Atrial Septal Defect

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

An atrial septal defect (ASD) is a hole in the septum (wall) between the upper chambers of your heart. The hole may be small or large. An ASD causes a problem with the way blood moves through your heart. This makes your heart work harder to pump blood. Over time, an ASD can damage your heart and lungs.

Atrial Septal Defect

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

You may need extra oxygen

if your blood oxygen level is lower than it should be. You may get oxygen through a mask placed over your nose and mouth or through small tubes placed in your nostrils. Ask your healthcare provider before you take off the mask or oxygen tubing.

Medicines

may be given to control your heartbeat or decrease stress on your heart. Medicine may also be given to lower pressure in your lungs, prevent blood clots, or remove extra fluid.

Monitoring:

  • A heart monitor is an EKG that stays on all of the time to record your heart's electrical activity.
  • A pulse oximeter is a device that measures the amount of oxygen in your blood.

Tests:

  • Blood and urine tests show your kidney function and give information about your overall health.
  • An EKG test records your heart rhythm and how fast your heart beats. It is used to check for abnormal heartbeats and other heart problems.
  • X-ray, CT, or MRI pictures will show the size and location of the ASD. It may also show problems in your lungs. You may be given contrast liquid to help your heart and lungs show up better in the pictures. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.
  • An echocardiogram is a type of ultrasound. Sound waves are used to show the size of the ASD and how blood flows through your heart. It can also show how well your heart is pumping. You may need a transthoracic or transesophageal echocardiogram. Ask your healthcare provider about these types of echocardiogram.
  • A cardiac catheterization is a procedure to check how well your heart is working. It is also used to measure pressure in different parts of your heart. A tube is guided into your heart through a blood vessel in your leg or arm. You may be given contrast liquid to help your heart show up better in pictures. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid.

Treatment:

  • Cardiac catheterization is a procedure used to close the ASD through a catheter (thin tube). The catheter is placed into an artery in your groin and guided up to your heart. A small stitch, patch, or plug is used to close the hole.
  • Open heart surgery may be needed to close the ASD with stitches, a patch, or a plug.

RISKS:

An ASD may cause abnormal heartbeats, damage to your lungs, or heart failure. You may develop blood clots that cause a stroke. Any of these problems can become life-threatening.

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.

© 2017 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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