t is the term used when the wall between the two atria known as the septum has a hole in it. This is a congenital defect that closes itself naturally during infancy or early childhood but if it doesn’t then it might affect the normal functioning of the heart and surgery might be required to rectify the same to prevent complications.
If the hole in the atrial septum is small, it may not affect the heart function but if the hole is slightly larger, then the blood from the left atrium may travel to the right atrium causing the blood volume in the pulmonary artery to increase. Due to this additional blood flow in the artery to the lungs, the lungs and heart are forced to work harder which can result in their damage in the long run.
There are several types of atrial septal defects:
There may be a complete absence of signs and symptoms if the defect is very small. Signs and symptoms if present might include:
Heart defects are present at the time of birth, hence they occur due to some error in the heart development which may occur due to certain genetic and environmental factors. Though the exact cause for their occurrence is still not known, some of the risk factors have been identified:
A considerably large defect in the atrial septum may lead to the complications like:
If the atrial septal defect is small, then there might be no complications in bearing a child. However, if the hole in the septum is large enough or arrhythmia, pulmonary hypertension, heart failure have occurred, then the pregnancy might involve complications.
It is best to consult your doctor before planning your pregnancy so that adequate precautions are taken. Also, there is more risk of having a child with a congenital defect if you have a history of the same.
Atrial septal defects resolve by themselves during infancy or early childhood. But if it does not happen, then the following interventions may be done: