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Atrial Septal Defects (ASD)

The presence of a defect (opening) in the septum that separates the two atria of the heart. It can be congenital or acquired. NIH - National Cancer Institute

About Atrial Septal Defects (ASD)

An atrial septal defect (ASD) is a hole in the part of the septum that separates the atria. (The atria are the upper chambers of the heart.)

An ASD allows oxygen-rich blood to flow from the left atrium into the right atrium, instead of flowing into the left ventricle as it should. So, instead of going to the body, the oxygen-rich blood is pumped back to the lungs, where it has just been.

An ASD can be small, medium, or large. Small ASDs allow only a little blood to flow from one atrium to the other. Small ASDs don't affect how the heart works and don't need any special treatment. Many small ASDs close on their own as the heart grows during childhood.

Medium and large ASDs allow more blood to leak from one atrium to the other. They're less likely to close on their own... Read more about Atrial Septal Defects

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Amplatzer transcatheter and surgical closure for ostium secundum atrial septal defects: a systematic review

Bibliographic details: Tang C, Zeng Z, Li J, Cao W Z, Huang P.  Amplatzer transcatheter and surgical closure for ostium secundum atrial septal defects: a systematic review. Chinese Journal of Evidence-Based Medicine 2007; 7(4): 267-275

Percutaneous versus surgical closure of secundum atrial septal defects: a systematic review and meta-analysis of currently available clinical evidence

AIMS: To summarise data from studies comparing surgical (SC) versus percutaneous closure (PC) of atrial septal defects (ASDs).

Atrial septal defect closure is associated with a reduced prevalence of atrial tachyarrhythmia in the short to medium term: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Atrial tachyarrhythmias are a common complication of atrial septal defects. The objective was to determine the effect of atrial septal defect closure on pre-existing atrial tachyarrhythmias and to investigate if such an effect is present after either surgical or percutaneous closure. Medline, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, and Google Scholar databases were searched between 1967 and 2009. The search was expanded using the 'related articles' function and reference lists of key studies. All studies reporting pre- and post- closure incidence (or prevalence) of atrial tachyarrhythmias in the same patient groups were included. Data were independently extracted by two authors according to a pre-defined protocol. Incongruities were settled by consensus decision. Twenty six studies were identified including 1841 patients who underwent surgical closure and 945 who underwent percutaneous closure. Meta-analysis using a random effects model demonstrated a reduction in the prevalence of atrial tachyarrhythmias following atrial septal defect closure [OR = 0.66 (95% CI 0.57-0.77)]. This effect was demonstrated after both percutaneous [OR = 0.49 (95% CI 0.32-0.76)] and surgical closure [OR = 0.72 (95% CI 0.60-0.87)]. Immediate (<30 days) and mid-term (30 days - 5 years) follow-up also demonstrated a reduction in AT prevalence [ORs of 0.80 (95% CI 0.66-0.97) and 0.47 (95% CI 0.36-0.62) respectively]. Atrial septal defect closure, whether surgical or percutaneous, is associated with a reduction in the post-closure prevalence of pre-existing atrial tachyarrhythmias and atrial fibrillation in the short to medium term.

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Summaries for consumers

Therapies for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Review of the Research for Parents and Caregivers

This guide describes research about the possible benefits and negative side effects of therapies for children who are 0 to 12 years old and have ASD. It was created to help you talk with your doctor, school administrator, social worker, or health insurance representative about programs and therapies.

Terms to know

The chambers of the heart, to which the blood returns from the circulation.
Congenital Heart Defects (Congenital Heart Diseases)
Congenital heart defects are problems with the heart's structure that are present at birth.
The hollow, muscular organ that maintains the circulation of the blood.
Heart Ventricles
The lower right and left chambers of the heart.
Interatrial Septum
The tissue that separates the right atrium from the left atrium in the heart.
One of a pair of organs in the chest that supplies the body with oxygen, and removes carbon dioxide from the body.

More about Atrial Septal Defects

Photo of a baby

Also called: Interatrial septal defects

Other terms to know: See all 6
Atria, Congenital Heart Defects (Congenital Heart Diseases), Heart

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