(Atrial Septal Defect; Atrioventricular Canal Defect; Atrioventricular Septal Defect; Endocardial Cushion Defect; Ventricular Septal Defect)
- Atrial septal defect (ASD)—a hole in the wall between the two upper chambers (atrium) of the heart
- Ventricular septal defect (VSD)—a hole in the wall between the two lower chambers (ventricles) of the heart
- Atrioventricular septal defect (AVSD)—a combination of ASD, VSD, and problems with opening between chambers called valves
|Ventricular Septal Defect|
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- Family history of congenital heart defects
- Exposure to a viral infection, drugs, or alcohol during pregnancy
- Certain medications, such as those used to treat seizure disorder
- Shortness of breath
- Getting tired easily
- Poor growth
- Electrocardiogram (EKG)
- Cardiac catheterization
ASD treatment options include:
- About 40% of all ASDs will close on their own during the first year of life. This is more likely to occur with small defects.
- An ASD that still exists at age 2 is unlikely to ever close on its own. If it is not closed in childhood, it may cause problems in adulthood.
- Surgery may be recommended in children with ASDs past 2 years of age.
- Some ASDs can be closed without surgery. A device is placed in the hole with cardiac catheterization. This is a process that send the device to the heart through a large blood vessel.
VSD treatment options include:
- Many VSDs will close on their own during the first year of life. This is more likely to occur with small defects.
- Small VSDs that do not close rarely cause problems.
- Medium and large VSDs may cause problems. They may need supportive treatment in the first few months of life.
- Surgery may be needed in children with defects that cause symptoms or do not close after 1 year.
Most infants with AVSD will have symptoms and require treatment. AVSD treatment options include:
- Medication, which can help the heart beat strongly, keep the heart rate regular, or decrease the amount of fluid in the blood flow
- Limiting physical activity
- Surgery to close the defect
- Septal defects linked to heart failure—infants with signs of congestive heart failure may need to take medication
Living With Septal Defects
- Talk to your doctor before considering pregnancy.
- Go to all prenatal screening tests.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs during pregnancy.
- Talk to your doctor about ways to reduce your risk of having a child with Down syndrome. One type of AVSD is associated with the syndrome.
American Heart Association http://www.heart.org
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development http://www.nichd.nih.gov
Canadian Cardiovascular Society http://www.ccs.ca
The College of Family Physicians of Canada http://www.cfpc.ca
Atrial septal defects and patent foramen ovale. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated August 8, 2013. Accessed September 17, 2013.
Congenital heart defects. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/CongenitalHeartDefects/Congenital-Heart-Defects%5FUCM%5F001090%5FSubHomePage.jsp. Accessed September 28, 2014.
Premedication (antibiotics). American Dental Association's Mouth Healthy website. Available at: http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/p/Premedication-or-Antibiotics. Accessed September 28, 2014.
Ventricular septal defect (VSD). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated November 26, 2013. Accessed September 28, 2014.
6/18/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Jentink J, Loane M, Dolk H, et al. Valproic acid monotherapy in pregnancy and major congenital malformations. N Engl J Med. 2010;362(23):2185.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 08/2014 -
- Update Date: 09/30/2013 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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