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ASD may not require treatment if there are few or no symptoms, or if the defect is small. Surgical closure of the defect is recommended if the defect is large, the heart is swollen, or symptoms occur.
A procedure has been developed to close the defect without surgery. The procedure involves placing an ASD 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 and the defect is closed.
Not all patients with atrial septal defects can have this procedure.
Prophylactic (preventive) antibiotics should be given prior to dental procedures to reduce the risk of developing infective endocarditis immediately after surgery for the ASD, but they are not required later on.
With a small to moderate atrial septal defect, a person may live a normal life span without symptoms. Larger defects may cause disability by middle age because of increased blood flow and shunting of blood back into the pulmonary circulation.
Some patients with ASD may have other congenital heart conditions, such as a leaky valve.
Call your health care provider if symptoms indicating an atrial septal defect develop.
Webb GD, Smallhorn JF, Therrien J, et al. Congenital heart disease. Zipes DP, Libby P, Bonow RO, Braunwald E, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 8th ed. St. Louis, Mo: WB Saunders; 2007:chap 61.
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