Overview of Atrial septal defects

An atrial septal defect is a situation in which there is a hole found in the atrial septum. An atrial septum is a kind of wall between the upper two chambers of human’s heart, the right and left atria. Atrial septal defects are congenital heart defects which occur during the fetal growth of a child or during the birth.

It can happen in the range of mild to worst. Small defects conditions may never cause any problem in life and maybe not require any treatment. If any child is affected with small Atrial septal defects then it may get close slowly by its own without any surgery or other treatment during infancy or early childhood.

But apart from small Atrial septal defects, severe Atrial septal defects can damage the heart and lungs as well. A young child who had been suffering from an undetected atrial septal defect for last 5 to 6 years may have chances of getting heart failure or high blood pressure which affects the pulmonary arteries in the lungs. In this kind of cases, surgical treatment may be necessary to cure atrial septal defects to prevent complications in the future.

How many types of Atrial Septal Defects and how it affects the human heart?

As per the doctors and specialist, there are four major types of atrial septal defects, and each one of them is classified by their affected area in the heart and the development of the defect:-

Secundum atrial septal defects: – it is the type of Atrial Septal Defects in which there is a hole in the center part of the atrial septum. And this is one of the most common types of the atrial septal defect. This kind of defects occurs while the development of the heart or you can say while fetal growth.

Primum atrial septal defects: – It happens in the below part of the atrial septum which is just beside to the tricuspid and mitral valves.

Sinus venous atrial septal defects:- it is the kind of defects which affects the upper part of the atrial septum close to the veins which are connected to the right atrium, which can become the cause of abnormal drainage of the pulmonary veins.

Coronary sinus atrial septal defects: – It is the kind of disorder in which there is an opening in the layer between the coronary sinus and the left atrium. It is the rarest type of atrial septal defect and it also affects the blood flow from the heart to the other part of the body.

What are the symptoms of Atrial septal defects?

The signs and symptoms of Atrial septal defects highly dependent upon the size of the defects. Many children who affected from the atrial septal defect may experience no symptoms if the hole in the heart is small. However in another case, if the atrial septal defect is high, you may notice symptoms in your child health easily, for example easily tiring, shortness of breath, breathing fast sometimes, slow physical growth, respiratory infections. Maybe you ought to concern with your child’s healthcare doc if you are noticing any of these symptoms.

Many children born with atrial septal defects and they don’t have any confirm signs or symptoms. But in the adult’s age, signs or symptoms may begin showing, but in some cases, signs and symptoms may not occur until decades later.

Atrial septal defect signs and symptoms may include:

  • Shortness of breath is the most common and noticeable symptoms in adult especially while doing physical activities
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling in the legs, feet or abdomen
  • Small Stroke

If your doc hears any murmur, like the unusual sound from stethoscope while regular check-up.

When you should take your child to doctor?

Your child may not show any extraordinary symptoms if the defects are small, but here are s0me symptoms on which behalf you can contact your doctor:

If you baby not able to breathe properly after having meal or such activities.

Your baby may get irritated when you try to play with them because he may get tired easily.

You may also notice if there is any swelling in your baby’s legs.

While you can also notice if the heart can stop beating suddenly.

These symptoms can also result in heart failure or another dangerous congenital heart disease.

What are the treatments of Atrial septal defect?

The atrial septal defect can be treated and its treatment depends upon the symptoms, age, and overall health of your child. And treatment of this defect also depends upon the severity of the damage. Once when doc diagnosed Atrial septal defect in your child then he will check if the defect is closing on its own or not. Because in Secundum atrial septal defect, most of the atrial septal defect in these cases often closes on its own as your child grows. Here are some steps for treatment that your child’s doc may take to repair Atrial septal defect.

Medical monitoring

If your child is suffering from atrial septal defect, then firstly your child’s cardiologist may recommend monitoring it for a particular period of time to consider that if it curing by its own or not. If doc will find it is not curing by itself then he will decide when and what type of treatment your child needs which depend on your child’s overall condition and treatment may also occur after consider any other congenital heart defects.


Having medicine will not cure the hole, but medicine may be used to reduce some of the signs and symptoms. Doc may prefer medicine just to reduces the risk of any complications after surgical treatment. Medications may include medicine such as to keep the heartbeat normal and to reduce blood clots.


You may call it the last or the best treatment to cure the atrial septal defect and it is more affected if surgery occurs in childhood which can prevent complications in adult age. The specialist may prefer surgery to repair the severe amount of atrial septal defects.

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