Atrial Septal Defect Surgery in India at Mumbai and Delhi at Low Cost

Published: 13th January 2012
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Atrial Septal Defect Closure and Surgery

What is Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)
Symptoms of Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)
Causes of Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)
Risk factors of Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)
When to seek medical advice for Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)
Tests and diagnosis for Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)
Complications of Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)


What is Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)


An atrial septal defect (ASD) is a hole in the wall between the two upper chambers of your heart. The condition is present from birth (congenital). Smaller atrial septal defects may close on their own during infancy or early childhood.

Large and long-standing atrial septal defects can damage your heart and lungs. An adult who has had an undetected atrial septal defect for decades may have a shortened life span from heart failure or high blood pressure in the lungs. Surgery is usually necessary to repair atrial septal defects to prevent complications.

Atrial Septal Asd Surgery, Atrial Septal Asd India

Atrial Septal Asd India, Atrial Septal Defect Surgery, Atrial Septal Defect

Symptoms of Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)


Many babies born with atrial septal defects don't have signs or symptoms. In adults, signs or symptoms may not develop until age 30 or later.

Your doctor may first uncover an atrial septal defect during a regular checkup while listening to your heart using a stethoscope. Hearing a heart murmur may signal a hole in your heart. Atrial septal defects are often found when an ultrasound exam of the heart (echocardiogram) is done for another reason.

Signs and symptoms of atrial septal defects develop once damage occurs to the heart and lungs. Infants with larger atrial septal defects may have poor appetites and not grow as they should. Adults and infants may have signs of heart failure or arrhythmias.

Signs and symptoms of large or long-standing atrial septal defects may include : -

* Shortness of breath
* Fatigue
* Swelling of legs, feet or abdomen
* Heart palpitations or skipped beats




Causes of Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)

Doctors know that heart defects present at birth (congenital) arise from errors early in the heart's development, but there's often no clear cause. Genetics and environmental factors may play a role.

An atrial septal defect allows freshly oxygenated blood to flow from the left upper chamber of the heart (left atrium) into the right upper chamber of the heart (right atrium). There it mixes with deoxygenated blood and is pumped to the lungs, even though it's already refreshed with oxygen. If the atrial septal defect is large, this extra blood volume can overfill the lungs and overwork the heart. If not treated, the right side of the heart eventually enlarges and weakens. In some cases, the blood pressure in your lungs increases as well, leading to pulmonary hypertension.


Comparing ASD with patent foramen ovale

The term "atrial septal defect" usually refers to holes in the atria resulting from a lack of atrial septal tissue, rather than those related to a condition called patent foramen ovale (PFO).

Patent foramen ovale occurs when part of the normal fetal heart circulation fails to close properly at birth. During fetal heart development, a channel (the foramen ovale) is present between the atria to allow blood to bypass the lungs. At birth, once the lungs take over breathing, the hole normally closes. In about one in three people, this opening doesn't close.


Risk factors of Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)

Congenital heart defects appear to run in families and sometimes occur with other genetic problems, such as Down syndrome. If you have a heart defect, or you have a child with a heart defect, a genetic counselor can predict the approximate odds that any future children will have one.

Experiencing any the following conditions during pregnancy can increase your risk of having a baby with a heart defect : -

* Rubella infection. Becoming infected with rubella (German measles) while pregnant can increase the risk of fetal heart defects. The rubella virus crosses the placenta and spreads through the fetus's circulatory system damaging blood vessels and organs, including the heart.
* Poorly controlled diabetes. Uncontrolled diabetes in the mother in turn affects the fetus's blood sugar causing various damaging effects to the developing fetus.
* Drug or alcohol use or exposure to certain substances. Use of certain medications, alcohol or drugs, or exposure to chemicals or radiation during pregnancy can harm the developing fetus



When to seek medical advice for Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)

Contact your doctor if you or your child has any of these signs or symptoms : -


* Poor appetite
* Failure to gain weight (infants)
* Bluish discoloration of the skin
* Shortness of breath
* Easy tiring
* Swelling of legs, feet or abdomen
* Heart palpitations or skipped beats


These could be indications of heart failure or another complication of an atrial septal defect.



Tests and diagnosis for Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)

Many atrial septal defects are first detected when a suspicious heart murmur is heard during a routine examination of the heart. If your doctor hears a heart murmur or finds other signs or symptoms of a heart defect,

he or she may request one or more of the following tests : -


* Echocardiogram : - This is the most common test used to diagnose an atrial septal defect. In fact, many atrial septal defects are found during an echocardiogram done for another reason. In echocardiography, sound waves produce a video image of the heart. It allows your doctor to see your heart's chambers and measure their pumping strength. This test also checks heart valves and looks for any signs of heart defects.


* Chest X-ray : - An X-ray image helps your doctor see the condition of your heart and lungs. An X-ray may identify conditions other than a heart defect that may explain your signs or symptoms.


* Electrocardiogram (ECG) : - This test records the electrical activity of your heart and helps identify heart rhythm problems.


* Cardiac catheterization : - In this test, a thin, flexible tube (catheter) is inserted into a blood vessel at the groin or arm and guided to your heart. Through catheterization, doctors can diagnose congenital heart defects, test how well your heart is pumping and check the function of your heart valves. Using catheterization, the blood pressure in your lungs also can be measured. Doctors are investigating catheterization techniques to repair heart defects as well.


* Pulse oximetry : - This painless test measures how well oxygen is reaching your tissues. It helps detect whether oxygenated blood is mixing with deoxygenated blood, which can help diagnose the type of heart defect present. A small clip on your fingertip measures the amount of oxygen in your blood.



Complications of Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)

A small atrial septal defect may never cause any problems. Small holes often close during infancy.

Larger defects can cause mild to life-threatening problems : -

* Pulmonary hypertension : - If a large atrial septal defect goes untreated, increased blood flow to your lungs increases the blood pressure in the lung arteries (pulmonary hypertension).


* Eisenmenger's syndrome : - In rare cases, pulmonary hypertension can cause permanent lung damage, and it becomes irreversible. This complication, called Eisenmenger's syndrome, usually develops over many years and occurs only in a small percentage of people with large atrial septal defects.



Other complications

Other potential complications of an untreated atrial septal defect include : -


* Right-sided heart failure
* Heart rhythm abnormalities
* Shortened life expectancy
* Increased risk of a stroke


Treatment can prevent or help manage many of these complications.



Treatments and drugs for Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) in India

If your child has an atrial septal defect, your doctor may recommend monitoring it for a period of time to see if it closes on its own, while treating any symptoms with medications.

According to the National Institutes of Health, about half of all atrial septal defects eventually close on their own. About 20 percent close within the first year of life. If a hole hasn't closed early in childhood, it usually won't close on its own. Some small atrial septal defects don't cause any problems and may not need closure, but many require surgery to be corrected. If your child needs treatment, the timing of it depends on your child's condition and whether your child has any other congenital heart defects.


Medications
Medications won't repair the hole, but they may be used to alleviate some of the signs and symptoms that can accompany an atrial septal defect.

Medications may include those to : -

* Keep the heartbeat regular. Examples include beta blockers (Lopressor, Inderal) and digoxin (Lanoxin).
* Increase the strength of the heart's contractions. Examples include digoxin (Lanoxin).
* Decrease the amount of fluid in circulation. Doing so reduces the volume of blood that must be pumped. These medications, called diuretics, include furosemide (Lasix).
* Reduce the risk of blood clots. Anticoagulants, often called blood thinners, can help reduce the chances of developing a blood clot and having a stroke. Anticoagulants include warfarin (Coumadin) and anti-platelet agents such as aspirin.



Surgery of Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) in India

Many doctors recommend repairing an atrial septal defect diagnosed during childhood to prevent complications as an adult. For adults and children, surgery involves plugging or patching the abnormal opening between the atria.

Doctors can do this through two methods : -

* Cardiac catheterization : - ASD Closure. A thin tube (catheter) is inserted into a blood vessel in the groin and guided to the heart. Through the catheter, a mesh patch or plug is put into place to close the hole. The heart tissue grows around the mesh, permanently sealing the hole.


* Open-heart surgery : - This type of surgery is done under general anesthesia and requires the use of a heart-lung machine. Through an incision in the chest, surgeons use patches or stitches to close the hole.


Follow-up care depends on the type of defect and whether other defects are present. For simple atrial septal defects closed during childhood, only occasional follow-up care is needed. For adults, follow-up care may depend on any resulting complications.


Going Home

Post hospital stay you will be advised for one week stay in a hotel / guest house and one consultation with your operating surgeon before you can take a flight back to your country from India.

You are encouraged to stay in touch with We Care India and the treating surgeon in India for communication post surgery. We would also advise you to establish a link between your local physician and We Care India to track your progress.


Lifestyle and home remedies

If you find out you have a congenital heart defect, or you've had surgery to correct one, you may wonder about limitations on activities and other issues.

* Exercise : - Having an atrial septal defect usually doesn't restrict you from activities or exercise. If you have complications such as heart failure or pulmonary hypertension, you may not be able to do some activities or exercises. Your cardiologist can help you learn what is safe.


* Preventing infection : - Some heart defects, and the repair of defects, create changes to the surface of the heart in which bacteria can become stuck and grow into an infection (infective endocarditis). Atrial septal defects generally aren't associated with infective endocarditis. But if you have other heart defects in addition to an atrial septal defect, you may need to take antibiotics before certain dental or surgical procedures.


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