An atrial septal defect repair uses a device to plug a hole in the wall between the two upper chambers (right and left atriums) of the heart. A transcatheter procedure is a minimally-invasive way to repair the hole.
The device will trigger the heart tissue to slowly grow over the hole as the child recovers.
An atrial septal defect can cause blood to flow backward into the right side of the heart and into the lungs. This triggers the heart to work harder. Over time, this can lead to damage to blood vessels in the lungs and congestive heart failure. This surgery is done to fix the hole.
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Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:
Things that may raise the risk of problems are:
The surgical team may meet with you to talk about:
General anesthesia will be used. Your child will be asleep.
A tube will be inserted either in the arm or groin. Electrodes will be placed on the chest. They will send information to the ECG machine, allowing the heart to be monitored.
A catheter will be placed in the blood vessel and advanced so the end is in the heart. Contrast material will be injected to allow the doctor to view x-ray images of the heart. An echocardiogram may also be used. The doctor will need to find out the size of the hole that needs to be covered. A tube with a balloon attached to it will be sent to the upper chambers of the heart. The balloon will inflate and measure the hole.
Another tube will be sent to the heart when the size of the hole is known. This tube will have a device attached. There are many types of devices. Some are able to open so that the hole is covered on both sides. Others open like an umbrella to cover the defect. After the device is placed, the tube will be removed. A bandage will be placed over the area.
After the operation, your child will be taken to the intensive care unit (ICU) for observation.
1 to 2 hours
Pain and swelling are common in the first 1 to 2 weeks. Medicine and home care can manage pain.
The usual length of stay is 2 to 4 days. Some children may be able to go home as soon as the next day. If your child has any problems, he or she may need to stay longer.
Right after the procedure, the staff may:
During your child's stay, the staff will take steps to lower the chance of infection such as:
There are also steps you can take to lower your child's chances of infection such as:
It will take about 6 weeks to fully heal. Physical activity will need to be limited during recovery. Your child may need to delay return to school.
Call the doctor if your child is not getting better or has:
Call for medical help or go to the emergency room right away if your child has:
If you think your child is having an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American Heart Association
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Heart and Stroke Foundation
Atrial septal defect. Cove Point Foundation website. Available at: http://www.pted.org/?id=atrialseptal4. Accessed November 3, 2020.
Atrial septal defect. Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/medical/heart/asd.html. Accessed November 3, 2020.
Atrial septal defects. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/atrial-septal-defects. Accessed November 3, 2020.
Geva T, Martins JD, et al. Atrial septal defects. Lancet. 2014 May 31;383(9932):1921-1932.
Open-heart surgery. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital website. Available at: http://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/health/heart-encyclopedia/treat/surg/open.htm. Accessed November 3, 2020.
Last reviewed September 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Kari Kassir, MD Last Updated: 5/7/2021