Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Atrial Septal Defect Overview

What is atrial septal defect?
A person with an atrial septal defect has a hole in the atrial septum. The atrial septum is the wall that separates the upper chambers of the heart, called atria. Atrial septal defects are present at birth, but are usually recognized in adulthood when symptoms occur, or when a heart murmur is discovered.

What are the symptoms of atrial septal defect?
Most children with atrial septal defect do not have symptoms. When symptoms occur they may include: fatigue, shortness of breath with exertion, and palpitations.

How does the doctor treat atrial septal defect?
Treatment for atrial septal defect involves surgery to repair the hole in the atrial septum. This may be done with a special catheter that is threaded into the heart.

Continue to Atrial Septal Defect Incidence

Last Updated: Feb 6, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Atrial Septal Defect References
  1. Baskett RJ, Tancock E, Ross DB. The gold standard for atrial septal defect closure: current surgical results, with an emphasis on morbidity. Pediatr Cardiol. 2003 Sep-Oct;24(5):444-7. [14627310]
  2. Graham TP Jr, Driscoll DJ, Gersony WM, Newburger JW, Rocchini A, Towbin JA. Task Force 2: congenital heart disease. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2005 Apr 19;45(8):1326-33. [15837282]
  3. Moake L, Ramaciotti C. Atrial septal defect treatment options. AACN Clin Issues. 2005 Apr-Jun;16(2):252-66. [15876892]
  4. Pinto FJ. When and how to diagnose patent foramen ovale. Heart. 2005 Apr;91(4):438-40. [1577219]
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