• What is an atrial septal defect (ASD)?

    An atrial septal defect (ASD) is a hole in the wall (septum) between the two upper chambers of your heart (atria). The condition is present at birth (congenital).

    ASDs are often diagnosed incidentally in the context of other symptoms (e.g. palpitations) and are diagnosed with transthoracic echocardiography and transoesophageal echocardiography.

  • What are the indications for closure?

    Small defects often require no specific treatment and should not cause any long-term problem.

    Larger defects do require closure if the shunt across the hole is large, there is evidence of right heart abnormality or raised lung pressures.

    Prof Ruparelia shall explain the rationale for closure and after investigation advise the best treatment strategy. In some cases percutaneous treatment may not be possible and open heart surgery may be advised.

  • What are the risks?

    Following your procedure, you will be asked to lie flat for a few hours to aid in the recovery of the top of the leg (the site of tube insertion).

    You should be able to go home the same day (if performed in the morning) or the following morning if performed later in the day.

    After your procedure you will required to take two blood thinning medications (aspirin and clopidogrel) for 1 month followed by aspirin monotherapy for the intermediate period.

    For the first 6 weeks, do not perform any strenuous activity including heavy lifting or bending.

    Prof Ruparelia shall arrange a follow up including an interval bubble echocardiogram to confirm complete closure

  • How do I prepare for my procedure?

    The procedure is carried out under a general anaesthetic and so please do eat or drink anything for the 6 hours before your planned procedure time.

    Prof Ruparelia shall discuss if any specific medications should be taken prior to your procedure.

  • What happens during the procedure?

    Prof Ruparelia performs ASD closure under a general anaesthetic with the aid of X-ray and TOE guidance.

    A small tube is positioned in the vein at the top of your leg (femoral vein), a balloon is used to size the defect and an umbrella shaped device is then advanced across the hole to close it.

    The procedure takes approximately 30 minutes - 1 hour and you are usually woken up in the operating room straight after your procedure

  • Recovery and post-procedure care

    Following your procedure, you will be asked to lie flat for a few hours to aid in the recovery of the top of the leg (the site of tube insertion).

    You should be able to go home the same day (if performed in the morning) or the following morning if performed later in the day.

    After your procedure you will required to take two blood thinning medications (aspirin and clopidogrel) for 1-3 months followed by aspirin monotherapy for the intermediate period.

    For the first 6 weeks, do not perform any strenuous activity including heavy lifting or bending.

    Prof Ruparelia shall arrange a follow up including an interval echocardiogram.

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