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Atrial Septal Defect

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 7, 2024.

What is an atrial septal defect (ASD)?

An 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. An ASD can also lead to a stroke if a blood clot is pumped out to a blood vessel in your brain.

Atrial Septal Defect

What causes an ASD?

The cause of an ASD is not known. Any of the following may increase your risk:

What are the signs and symptoms of an ASD?

You may not have symptoms if your ASD is very small. If you do have symptoms, they may not appear until you are age 20 or older. You may have any of the following:

How is an ASD diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will listen to your heartbeat and check for a murmur. A murmur is an abnormal heart sound. You may also need any of the following:

How is an ASD treated?

Treatment may depend on your symptoms and how large the ASD is. You may need any of the following:

What can I do to care for myself?

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) for any of the following:

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my cardiologist?

Care Agreement

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Further information

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