Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)

Definition and Indication

These defects (“holes in the heart”) are found in the wall (septum) dividing the two upper heart chambers or atria. They lead to right ventricular hypertrophy and dilatation, which represent indications for closure of the defect. Further indications may be symptoms of strain on the right side of the heart or paradoxical embolism.

Intervention / Operation

If it is possible, interventional ASD closure is preferred. However, if it is not possible, for example because the rim around the defect is too small, an operation is necessary. If the child’s parents so wish, the operation can be performed by means of a posterolateral thoracotomy (chest incision) rather than full opening of the thorax, at the age of 3-6 years.

Possible Long-Term Complications

The prognosis for children with this heart defect is good.

Recommendations for Further Treatment

If a patch is used to close the ASD we recommend endocarditis prophylaxis with all procedures involving potential bacteremia for 6 months after the operation.