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An atrial septal defect (ASD) occasionally called a hole in the heart is a kind of congenital heart defect in which there is an abnormal opening in the dividing wall between the upper filling chambers of the heart (the atria).
The size of an ASD and its location determine the symptoms it causes. Most children who have ASDs seem healthy and seem to have no symptoms. Most feel well, and grow and gain weight generally.
Kids with larger, more severe ASDs, though, may have few of these signs or symptoms:
1) poor appetite
2) poor growth
3) extreme tiredness
4) shortness of breath
5) lung problems and infections, like pneumonia
After hearing the heart murmur that suggests a hole in the atrial septum, a physician can refer a child to a pediatric cardiologist, a physician who specializes in diagnosing and treating heart disease in children and teens.
The cardiologist may order one or more of these tests:
1) chest X-ray: an image of the heart and surrounding organs
2) electrocardiogram (EKG): a record of the heart’s electrical activity
3) echocardiogram (echo): a picture of the heart and the bloodstream through its chambers. This is frequently the primary tool used to diagnose an ASD.
Treatment of an ASD will rely on a child’s age and the size, location, and severity of the defect.
Very small ASDs may not require any treatment. In other cases, the cardiologist may suggest follow-up visits for observation.
Ordinarily, though, if an ASD hasn’t closed on its own by the time a kid starts school, the cardiologist will suggest fixing the hole, either with cardiac catheterization or heart surgery.
1) Cardiac Catheterization
2) Heart Surgery
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