Septal defects are simple and fairly common congenital heart defects. (Congenital heart defects are problems with the heart's structure that are present at birth.) These defects change the normal flow of blood through the heart. A hole in the septum between the heart's two upper chambers is called an atrial septal defect (ASD). A hole in the septum between the heart's two lower chambers is called a ventricular septal defect (VSD). These defects may also be called a "hole in the heart".
What is ASD and VSD?
The septum prevents mixing of blood between the two sides of the heart. However, some babies are born with holes in the upper or lower septum. ASDs and VSDs allow blood to pass from the left side of the heart to the right side causing oxygen-rich blood to mix with oxygen-poor blood. As a result, some oxygen-rich blood is pumped to the lungs instead of the body.
How do you treat ASD or VSD?
In some instances these holes close on their own and small septal defects can often be followed conservatively without surgery.
However in the case of larger holes or holes that don't close, the defect needs to be repaired. The surgeons at PinnacleHealth Cardiovascular Institute are expert at minimally invasive procedures for ASD and VSD repair.
The procedure involves placing an closure device into the heart through tubes called catheters.
The health care provider makes a tiny surgical cut in the groin, then inserts the catheters into a blood vessel and up into the heart.
The closure device is then placed across the ASD or VSD and the defect is closed.