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Atrial Septal Defect Surgical Repair in Children


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



  • Antibiotics help prevent a heart infection called bacterial endocarditis. Your child may need to take antibiotics before dental or other procedures for up to 6 months after his ASD surgery. Tell any caregiver about your child's ASD surgery. Your child should always take antibiotics as directed by your primary healthcare provider (PHP) or cardiologist.
  • Give your child's medicine as directed. Call your child's PHP if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him if your child is allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs your child takes. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list or the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists.
  • Do not give aspirin to children younger than 18 years of age. Your child could develop Reye syndrome if he takes aspirin. Reye syndrome can cause life-threatening brain and liver damage. Check your child's medicine labels for aspirin, salicylates, or oil of wintergreen.

Follow up with your child's PHP or cardiologist as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.


Encourage your child to rest as much as needed. Ask when he can return to his daily activities. Your child may need to limit his physical activity for 1 month or more.

Wound care:

Carefully wash your child's wound with soap and water. Dry the area and put on new, clean bandages as directed. Change your child's bandages when they get wet or dirty.

Dental visits:

Your child may not be able to go to the dentist until 4 to 6 weeks after surgery. Keep your child's gums and teeth healthy by having your child use dental floss and brush with fluoride toothpaste twice each day. Gently rub the teeth and gums of your infant with water and gauze or soft cloth.

Illness prevention:

Keep your child away from people who have colds, flu, or other illnesses that are easily spread. Also try to keep your child away from large groups of people while he is recovering from surgery. This will decrease your child's risk of getting sick or getting an infection.

Return to school or daycare:

Your child's PHP will tell you when your child can return to school or daycare. If there are special instructions for your child, ask your child's PHP to write a note to the school. Talk to your child's teachers or school nurse about his surgery.

Secondhand smoke:

Do not let anyone smoke around your child. Smoke can affect your child's breathing. It can also harm your and your child's heart, lungs, and blood. If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Ask about ways to quit if you are having trouble quitting.

Contact your child's PHP or cardiologist if:

  • Your child has pain that does not go away.
  • Your child's stitches or staples come apart.
  • Your child's wound is red, swollen, or draining pus.
  • Your child has a fever.
  • Your child has a cough or sounds congested.
  • Your child vomits more than 2 times in 1 day.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • Blood soaks through your child's bandage.
  • Your child feels lightheaded, short of breath, and has chest pain.
  • Your child coughs up blood.

Learn more about Atrial Septal Defect Surgical Repair in Children (Discharge Care)

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.