Atrial Septal Defect (ASD, hole in heart)

Atrial septal defect (ASD) describes a hole in the upper chambers of the heart that is present at birth – a congenital heart defect. The Structural Heart Disease Program at Lehigh Valley Heart Institute provides high-quality care for people with ASD.

Atrial septal defect (ASD) is an imperfection in the wall between the left and right atrial chambers. A hole between the chambers can cause oxygen-rich blood to leak from the heart’s left side back to the right side. This blood is then pumped back to the lungs, despite already having been refreshed with oxygen, displacing blood that needs oxygen.

Treatment for atrial septal defect

  • Percutaneous atrial septal defect closure: A thin, flexible tube (catheter) is inserted into an artery through a small incision in the groin. Once at the location of the hole in the heart, an umbrella-like device in the catheter is slowly pushed out to cover the hole. Over time, heart tissue grows over the implant.
  • ASD surgical repair: During this open-heart surgery, a surgeon stitches shut the hole in the heart. A patch also may be used to cover the hole. Heart tissue will grow over the patch and make it a permanent part of the heart.

Our surgeons work closely with your physician to plan your care step-by-step, making sure you are part of each decision.

Follow-up care after treatment for ASD

After ASD closure, the team at Lehigh Valley Heart Institute is here to help you recover. Rehabilitation is an important part of your recovery. You will benefit from an individualized program of supervised exercise and health education that focuses on lifestyle changes.


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