When a child is in the womb, there is a small opening between its upper heart chambers which usually helps the blood to move away from lungs before birth. Once the child is born this opening closes automatically, however in some cases the whole might be bigger and would not close on its own. This open hole might cause trouble after the birth of the child and that is why it needs to be treated. The condition where a hole is formed between the two upper chambers of the heart is known as ASD or Atrial Septal Defect. in several cases the symptoms of ASD might not be visible, however if the hole is big then the patient might experience trouble in breathing and fatigue. ASD can also damage the lung arteries when not treated on time.
What are the symptoms and signs of ASD?
The symptoms of ASD depend upon how big the whole is. Most of the patients do not experience any symptoms while other patients might find out about this abnormality when they go for chest X Ray due to some other reasons. But in cases where the hole is large, the patient might experience symptoms like shortness of breath, fatigue, irregular heart rhythms, difficulty in carrying out even small exercises or strenuous work and sometimes cyanosis as well. If the patient experiences any of the symptoms for a long time they should consult a doctor immediately and get themselves diagnosed.
How can ASD be diagnosed?
There are several tests that can help in the diagnosis of ASD.
- ECG: In this type of test a graph of heart's electrical activity is made out to check whether it is working properly or not.
- Chest X Ray: An X-Ray is carried out to check the size of different chambers of the heart as well as the blood vessels.
- Doppler examination: In this type of test an ultrasound image of the heart is taken out and matched with the blood flow measurements. This test helps to determine the structure of the heart and its performance.
- TEE examination: In this type of examination an ultrasound is taken through the oesophagus to check the size and shape of heart valves and ASD.
- Echocardiogram: Echocardiogram is used to check the pattern of the blood circulation through the septal opening. It can also be used to check the dimensions of the hole.
How can ASD be treated?
Most of the Atrial septal defects might not require treatment however some atrial defects can persist and be very harmful. When ASD persists for a long while, a patient's lungs grow weak due to extra work. This is one of the main reasons why this defect needs to be treated.
Medications: Medicines would not repair the hole, however they might be used to decrease the signs and symptoms that occur when someone has ASD. Medication might be used to decrease the complications that would happen after a surgery. They are also given to help reduce the risk of formation of blood clots and are also used to prevent irregular heartbeats.
Surgery: Surgery is not advised in cases of ASD as it might have side effects. However if the hole is very large then there could be no better treatment to cure ASD tan surgery. When a surgery is performed the abnormal openings of atria are sewed or patched. There are two different types of surgeries that can cure ASD. Doctors examine the patient and decide on the type of surgery that needs to be performed. If the hole is small then Cardiac Catheterization can be used and if the hole is big ten open heart surgery is performed.
Cardiac Catheterization In this type of surgery a flexible tube is inserted in the blood vessel. This blood vessel leads the tube to the heart. The position of the hole is then found out using the imaging method. Once the location is determined, the doctor uses it to treat the patient. A mesh patch or plug is sewed to close the hole. When the hole is closed the heart muscle grows around the patch covering it entirely. This procedure can be used to treat only some types of ASD.
Open heart surgery: Open heart surgery is performed under general anaesthesia. The surgery is performed using a lung machine. In this surgery an incision is made in the chest and the surgeon puts a patch on the hole to cover it. The hole is sealed and the incision is sewed. This is the best procedure to repair serious ASD defects; it can also be done using small incisions and it is then known as minimally invasive surgery.
Follow ups after the surgery:
There can be many after effects of surgery and adults who have had ASD repair must visit the doctor for a follow up regularly. The schedule of follow up differs according to the age and type of treatment that has been performed. Get the treatment done from the experts with the help of the best medical tourism company in india. Medicines like blood thinners are advised to the patients. Antibiotics are also given to the patients after the surgery is performed. These medicines help to prevent any infections in the body. Patients are also advised to follow a healthy diet and regular exercise so as to prevent any side effects.