Atrial Septal Defect Closure

Atrial Septal Defect Closure

What is it?

This is a procedure which uses a mesh device (amplatzer), delivered through a catheter, to close the hole in the upper chambers of the heart. The amplatzer is a two-tiered device which when expanded, closes an arial septal defect.

Reasons for Atrial Septal Defect Closure

Atrial septal defect is an abnormal hole in the wall of the upper chambers of the heart where the wall between the right and left atria does not close completely. The atrial sepal defect can increase the amount of blood that flows to the lungs. During childhood, there may be no symptoms, but over time the condition can lead to pulmonary hypertension or congestive heart failure.

An atrial septal defect can close by itself, but usually needs repairing. It is typically repaired in children between 3 and 5 years of age, but infants, older children and adults may also undergo the treatment when necessary. Until recently, the only cure was to undergo open-heart surgery.

What to expect

The cardiologist determines what size amplatzer to use by inflating a balloon within the defect, and measuring the indentation in the balloon created by the defect. The amplatzer, which is made of wire mesh, is then inserted through a catheter and placed securely in the hole. The clamshell-like device closes the hole and then stays in the heart.

The patient receives general anesthesia, and no large incision is needed. The procedure is performed in a catheterization laboratory. Patients are able to go home a day after the procedure, and there is no incision or scarring. The recovery time is just a few days.

But not every hole can be closed this way. Cardiologists will conduct a thorough exam to make sure it's the right treatment.

St. Luke's Heart & Vascular