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Atrial Septal Defect Repair-(Keyhole)

Treatments and drugs

If you child has been affected with atrial septal defect, the doctor may recommend, to monitor this defect for a period of time to see if this heals on its own, and while treating any symptoms and medication. Most atrial septal defects close on their own during childhood. For some children if the atrial septal defect don't close on its own, may not require any kind of treatment if there are no problems,but most atrial septal defects eventually require surgery to be corrected.

If the child needs treatment , it depends on the condition of the child and whether, the child has any other congenital heart defects.

Medications

With medication the hole wont be repaired,but these are used to reduce the signs and symptoms that can accompany an atrial septal defects drugs are also used to reduce the risks and symptom, and complications which arise after surgery. Medications that may include, and keep the heart beat regular for e.g. Beta blockers(lopresor,Inderal) and digoxin (Lanoxin)

These medications, reduce the risk of blood clots, anticoagulants which help to thinning the blood and and can also reduce the changes of developing a blood clot,or having a stroke. The Anticoagulantss, include warfarin (coumadin) and anti-platelet agents,such as aspirin.

Surgery

Most doctors recommend repairing an atrial septal defect which is diagnosed during childhood and to prevent complications as an adult. In both cases, for adults and children surgery involves plugging or patching the abnormal opening between the atria , doctor can do this through two methods, which is Cardiac catheterization. This procedure is done, by placing a thin tube(catheter)which is inserted into the blood vessel in the groin and guided to the heart,through the catheter , the doctor uses a mesh patch, or a plug to close the hole. Gradually the heart tissue grows around the mesh, sealing the hole permanently. The second method.

Open-heart surgery - This procedure is done under general anaesthesia,which requires the use of a heart-lung machine,the doctor makes an incision in the chest , usually surgeons use a patch or stitches to close the hole.

Medical monitoring

Follow-up-care is very important, and this depends on the type of defect, and whether other defects are present. Atrial septal defects, which closes on its own during childhood, follow-up-care is required, but in the case of adults follow-up care depends on any resulting complications.

The doctor would first suspect, an atrial septal defect during a normal check up if the doctor hears a heart murmur, while listening to your heart using a stehtoscope. The other way to check for an atrial septal defect, is through an ultra sound exam of the heart(echocadiogram) which is done for another reason.

If the doctor hearts a heart murmur or finds other signs or symptoms of a heart defect, the doctor would request one of the following tests:

  • Echocardiogram : This test is most common, and is used to diagnose an atrial septal defect, which are found during an echocardiogram done for another reason. During an echodiography, the sound waves produce a video image of the heart, and makes it easier for the doctor to see the heart's chambers and measure their pumping strength, this test also checks the heart valves and looks for any signs of heart defects.
  • Chest X-ray - Helps the doctor to see the condition of the heart and lungs,an x-ray may also identify the condtions, other than a heart defect which can explain the signs and symptoms.
  • Electrocardiogram(ECG) . This test helps to record the electrical activity of the heart andhelps identify heat problems.
  • Cardiac catheterization . The doctor uses a thin, flexible tube(catheter) that is inserted into a blood vessel at the groin or arm, which is guided to the heart, through the catherterization, doctors can diagnose the congenital heart defects, and test how well the heart is pumping and check the function of the hear valves. The blood pressure in your lungs also can be measured.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) -This a technique that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create 3-d images of the heart, organs and other tissues within the body. The doctor may request for an MRI if the echocardiography test cannot detect or diagnose an atrial septal defect.
  • Pulse oximetry - Is a painless test which measures how well the oxygen is reaching the tissues, it also helps in detecting whether the oxygenated blood is mixing with the de oxygenated blood, and detect the type of heart defect. The doctor places a small clip on your fingertip that measures the amount of oxygen in your blood.

Lifestyle and home remedies

If you have undergone surgery to correct a congenital heart defect, or have a heart defect, then you need to think seriously about making some changes about your lifestyle. The first thing you do is:

  • Exercise - If you have an atrial septal defect, usually doesn't restrict you from exercising. If you do have complications, that arise from a heart defect, or pulmonary hypertension, then you may not be able to do strenuous work or exercise. You will need to check with your cardiologist on this.
  • Diet - Eat a lot of healthy fruits,vegetables, and whole grains, which are low in fat, cholesterol and sodium , that can help you keep your heart healthy. You can eat fish twice a week.
  • Preventing infection - After surgery or during treatment there are certain changes that surface of the heart which can lead to bacteria, causing infection(infective eddocarditis).If you have any other heart defects in addition to an atrial septal defect, or had the defect recently repaired then you made need to take antibiotics to kill the infection, and before any kind of dental or surgical procedures.

Prevention

Atrial septal defects, can be prevented in most cases, if you are planning to get pregnant, then you need to schedule a preconception visit with you health care provider. On this visit the tests include:

Tested for immunity to rubella, if your not immune, then you should get vaccinated.

Previous or past medical health conditions and medications. You will need to carefully monitor certain health problems during your pregnancy, and the doctor will also recommend adjusting or stopping certain medications before you become pregnant.

Family history-If you have previous family history of heart defects or other genetic disorders, then talk to your genetic counsellor to determine what risks there might be before getting pregnant.