Also referred to as "a hole in the heart," septal defects are diagnosed when blood is able to flow between the heart's left and right chambers due to an opening in the wall that separates the two sides (the septum). Types of septal defects include:
Children born with atrial septal defect may not have any symptoms early in life, but may have complications later. In the other defects, symptoms may include (depending upon the defect):
Septal defects can be detected by an echocardiogram or transesophageal echo.
Treatment depends upon the severity of the defect. If treatment is required, non-surgical (percutaneous) repair or surgical repair of the opening is typically successful in restoring normal circulation.
URMC Cardiology excels at nonsurgical ASD repair. Prior to the procedure, a patient will have a cardiac catheterization to assess the exact size and location of the defect. During the procedure, a closure device is attached to a catheter, which is inserted into a vein in the groin and advanced to the heart and through the defect with the assistance of X-ray and intracardiac echo. The cardiologist will push the closure device out of the catheter slowly so that it opens to cover each edge of the defect, sealing it closed. Over time, scar tissue grows over the closure device and it becomes part of the heart.
As the only institution in the area that is part of an academic medical center, URMC Cardiology is involved in the latest treatment and research on septal defects.
For more information on atrial septal defects and closure repair, please call 585-275-6161.