Atrial Septal Defect Repair in Children -- Open Heart Surgery

An atrial septal defect is a hole in the wall between the two upper chambers (right and left atriums) of the heart. Open heart surgery can repair the hole, either by closing the hole with stitches or by placing a patch over it.

  • Call Your Doctor If Any of the Following Occurs


    After your child leaves the hospital, call your doctor if any of the following occurs:

    • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
    • Increased sweating
    • Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or any discharge from the incision site
    • Incision opens
    • Nausea and/or vomiting
    • Increased pain
    • Problems with urinating (eg, pain, burning, urgency or frequency of urination, blood in the urine) or not urinating
    • Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
    • Rattling in the chest
    • Fatigue
    • Rash
    • Not wanting to eat or drink
    • Noisy breathing

  • Definition


    An
    atrial septal defect
    is a hole in the wall between the two upper chambers (right and left atriums) of the heart. Open heart surgery can repair the hole, either by closing the hole with stitches or by placing a patch over it.

    Patch Repair for Atrial Septal Defect
    Arterial Defect Patch
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

  • What to Expect

  • Reasons for Procedure


    If a child is born with a hole between the upper chambers of the heart, the blood can flow backward into the right side of the heart and into the lungs. This triggers the heart to work harder. Over time, this can lead to damage to blood vessels in the lungs and
    congestive heart failure
    . This procedure is done to fix the hole.

    Most children who have this surgery will have good outcomes.

  • Possible Complications


    Complications are rare, but no procedure is free of risk. Possible complications may include:

    • Bleeding
    • Damage to the heart or lungs
    • Reaction to the anesthesia (eg, light-headedness, low blood pressure, wheezing)

    • Infection, including
      endocarditis
      (infection of the inner lining of the heart muscle)
    • Heart attack
    • Blood clot formation
    • Arrhythmia
      (abnormal heart rhythm)

    Before your child's procedure, talk to the doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your child's risk of complications such as chronic disease such as diabetes or obesity.

    Low birth weight or a recent infection may increase the risk of complications.