An atrial septal defect is a congenital heart disorder that allows blood to flow between the two upper chambers of the heart - the right and left atria. This occurs when a person is born with an abnormal opening in the septal wall that separates the right and left sides of the heart. The symptoms of this defect may go unnoticed until later in life, depending on the size of the hole.
Closure of an atrial septal defect is usually recommended when the hole is large or a person is experiencing symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, sensation of feeling the heart beat (palpitations) in adults, or shortness of breath with activity.
Cardiac catheterization using an ASD closure device involves the placement of a permanent implant that closes a hole (atrial septal defect or ASD) in the heart wall. An implant consists of a clam shell like device that is permanently placed through the hole by a thin, flexible tube (catheter). This provides a patch to both sides of the hole. Over time, the lining of the heart wall grows over the patch and seals the hole completely.
There are several devices currently available for closure. The type and size of device is based on the size and location of the hole. Sometimes more than one device is needed to completely close the hole.
This non-surgical technique for closing an ASD eliminates the scar on the chest needed for a surgical approach, and has a shorter recovery time.
The Cooper Heart Institute has a large, renowned team of physicians who offer world class cardiac care and have extensive experience performing cardiac catheterization with ASD closure device.
Understanding the procedure
An interventional cardiologist from the Cooper Heart Institute inserts a long thin hollow flexible tube (catheter) in a blood vessel that leads to the heart in the inner thigh. Using an X-ray camera, the doctor then guides the catheter into the heart and performs several tests to measure the size of the hole, and to check that there are no other defects in the heart.
To repair the hole, the doctor moves a small mesh device through the catheter to the site of the defect. The device expands to cover each side of the hole. It will stay in the heart permanently. The catheter is then removed.
This procedure may be performed on an outpatient basis, meaning no hospital stay required, or may involve an overnight stay.