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Repair of ASD

How is an ASD treated?

Treatment of an ASD depends on the type and size of the defect, its effect on the heart, and the presence of any other related conditions, such as pulmonary hypertension, valve disease or coronary artery disease. The size of the defect correlates with the degree of shunting—the more shunting, the greater the risk of long-term complications such as atrial fibrillation and pulmonary hypertension. The degree of shunting is determined by echocardiography, MRI or oxygen saturations measured during catheterization. The degree of right-heart enlargement, as measured by echocardiography or MRI, usually correlates with the degree of shunting.


ASD Repair

Surgical Repair Surgical repair may be needed for large secundum ASDs and other types of ASDs. Surgical repair usually is performed using a tissue patch, preferably from the patient’s own pericardium (the membrane aorund the heart). Some secundum ASDs can be surgically closed with sutures alone.


Follow-Up Care

The patient usually returns to the cardiologist 3, 6 and 12 months after a procedure for a follow-up physical exam and echocardiogram, and once a year thereafter. After a secundum ASD is repaired, most people can return to their regular activities without any activity restrictions (other than those associated with all heart catheterizations). Patients usually take a blood thinner for six months to a year after the repair to prevent blood clots and help the healing process. Patients who have had a stroke may need to take blood thinners indefinitely, and those with other heart problems, such as coronary artery disease or pulmonary hypertension, may need to take additional medication.