Human heart consists of four essential chambers that regulate and maintain its normal activity. Pumping chambers are called as left and right ventricles as they are located on left and right side. Similarly, receiving chambers are termed as left and right atria. Atrial septal defect (ASD) is a health condition that causes a hole in wall of atria. This heart disorder is congenital in nature which signifies that it is present by birth in an individual. It has been observed that small ASDs close on their own during developmental phase of children. However, large ASDs require an apt treatment. Otherwise, it may create several life-threatening complications and may cause patient’s death as well.
There are no prominent symptoms of ASD in infants. The following list elaborates some major signs and symptoms of atrial septal defects that are observed in children and adults.
Patients struggling with such problems must stay careful and visit a qualified doctor as early as possible. Any kind of negligence may prove fatal over a period.
Unfortunately, there are no known causes for the development of atrial septal defects in heart. However, medical experts believe that faulty genes and several environmental factors play a major role in the development of ASD. Apart from this, the following points describe some main risk factors associated with ASD.
The given points elaborate four major types of atrial septal defects.
Ostium Secundum – This type of atrial septal defect emerges due to development of hole in central region of atrial wall. It is one of the most common types of ASDs and affects nearly 70 percent of children with atrial septal defect.
Ostium Primum – This type of ASD arises due to presence of hole in bottom-most portion of atria. Children with some pre-existing heart conditions are likely to develop ostium primum.
Sinus Venosus – This type of ASD occurs due to development of hole in uppermost part of patient’s atria.
Coronary Sinus – This condition arises rarely as compared to other types of ASD. Such defect develops within the coronary sinus region of heart.
At first, doctors may ask the patients regarding signs and symptoms which are bothering them. They may also ask regarding their complete medical history. It will give them a brief idea of patient’s current condition. After a basic initial consultation, respective heart specialists may order the following diagnostic tests which can help them in determining atrial septal defect causes and their befitting treatment plans.
Echocardiogram (Echo) – This test generates high-quality as well as real time images of patient’s heart. It allows respective cardiac surgeons to have a thorough inspection of patient’s heart and locate underlying heart defects.
Chest X-Rays – Chest x-rays are capable of generating images of heart, lungs as well as surrounding structures which enables respective surgeons to check the signs of heart problems.
Electrocardiogram (ECG) – This test is capable of measuring heart activity of patients with a high degree of accuracy. It can easily identify abnormal heartbeat problems.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI Test) – Magnetic resonance imaging test is one of the most trusted diagnostic tests for finding out atrial septal defects. It uses radio frequencies and magnetic fields for producing images of patient’s internal heart and other structures.
Computerized Tomography Procedure (CT Scan) – Computerized tomography is similar to an MRI procedure. The only difference is that it uses x-rays for generating high-quality images of internal parts of patient’s body.
Treatment for atrial septal defects mainly depends on the size of hole in atria. Small sized ASDs can be easily managed with the help of monitoring and medications. Whereas, a surgical repair is necessary for treating medium to large atrial septal defects effectively.
Doctors may monitor the patients for some time interval after completion of their surgery in order to prevent post-surgical complications.
The following points depict some general risks and complications associated with above-mentioned treatments for atrial septal defects.
Recovery will solely depend on patient’s general health, specific type of atrial septal defect and treatment which is given to them as well. Respective cardiac surgeons may ask them to stay in the hospital for two to three days if ASD closure surgery is performed. In addition to this, they may be asked to follow a special type of diet until they recover completely. Patients must not forget to visit their cardiac surgeons for follow-up care as it is the key factor for speeding up recovery process.
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