Free Online Database Of Diseases, Illnesses & Ailments



ASD Causes

ASD or atrial septal defect is a congenital condition. This particular defect is believed to develop as a consequence of both genetic and environmental errors early in the heart's development. With ASD, freshly oxygenated blood flows from the left atrium to the right atrium, where it mixes with deoxygenated blood and is pumped back to the lungs, even if it has already been oxygenated. This results in an abnormal buildup of blood volume, which can overfill the lungs and consequently overexert the heart. If untreated, the right atrium may enlarge and weaken. Blood pressure in the lungs may also increase, eventually leading to pulmonary hypertension.

ASD Definition

ASD (or atrial septal defect) is a congenital condition characterized by a hole in the wall between the left and right atria (the two upper chambers of the heart).

ASD Diagnosis

ASD is often detected incidentally during an unrelated checkup that requires listening to the heart with a stethoscope. Physicians have reason to suspect ASD if a heart murmur is heard. An echocardiogram may also detect the same heart murmur, which leads to suspicion of ASD. In addition, ASD may be diagnosed through a chest x-ray, an electrocardiogram (ECG), a cardiac catheterization, or pulse oximetry.

ASD Symptoms and Signs

Most infants born with ASD at birth do not exhibit any symptoms. In adults, the disease usually presents after the 30th year of life or even later. A heart murmur is the most common clinical presentation of ASD, and is usually detected accidentally during a routine check-up. Infants born with this genetic disease may not grow normally and suffer from poor appetites. Both infant and adult sufferers show signs of arrhythmias or heart failure. Long-standing ASD may manifest with fatigue, shortness of breath, leg/feet/abdomen swelling, as well as heart palpitations or skipped heart beats. If untreated, ASD may completely damage the patient's heart and lungs.

ASD Treatment

In most cases, small ASD may close on its own during infancy or early childhood. However, long-standing ASD has the potential to damage the hearts and lungs, thus decreasing the lifespan of affected patients. To treat ASD of this scale, surgical intervention becomes necessary to repair the hole and avoid further complications. Some surgical methods available for ASD treatment are cardiac catheterization and open-heart surgery. Some medications may also be recommended to alleviate some of the symptoms, although drug therapy alone won't close the hole.

Most Viewed Pages

Recent Searches

Our Visitors Ask About

Medical News