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Hello everyone,

I haven't been feeling well lately. I won't tell you about my symptoms because I want someone to tell me what are the symptoms of atrial septal defect so that I could compare those to the symptoms that I have. I talked to a friend of mine about how I am feeling and he told me that I could be having this thing called atrial septal defect. 

Can you tell me anything about this? If I have this condition, how could I know it for sure? What are its symptoms? Are there any signs that would indicate that this is the condition that I have?


Hi Bee,

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

Many babies born with septal defects don't have associated signs and symptoms. In adults, these begin to show by age 30, but in some cases, these even appear decades later.

Signs and symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, especially when exercising, swelling of legs, feet or abdomen, heart palpitations or skipped beats, frequent lung infections, stroke or heart palpitations, a whooshing sound that can be heart through a stethoscope. 



Hey Bee,

You should contact your doctor immediately if you are having shortness of breath, especially after exercising, tiring easily, swelling of legs, feet or abdomen or heart palpitations. These could be signs and symptoms of heart failure or another congenital heart disease.

Doctor's don't really know what causes this. They know that heart defects present at birth arise from errors early in the heart's development but there's often no clear cause. Genetics and environmental factors may play a role. If this is left untreated, the blood pressure in your lungs increases which can eventually lead to pulmonary hypertension, something you don't want to mess with.



Hi guys,

Thank you very much for your responses, Health n joy and Alan. I can see now that I'm having problems with my heart, I have the symptoms that you two wrote above but it doesn't seem to mean that I have atrial septal defect, I can also have some other types of heart issues. I've decided to see my doctor tomorrow and I already made an appointment.

I'm curious to know how dangerous this can be, if any of you know. How dangerous is it when it is left untreated and how dangerous can it be when it is treated.



Hi there everyone.

I know that this condition is very common in babies.

But, it can happen to everyone of course. Atrial septal defect signs and symptoms usually are:

  • shortness of breath,
  • fatigue,
  • swelling of legs,
  • skipped heart beats,
  • stroke,
  • heart murmur,
  • swelling of abdomen, etc

It is very important to visit your doctor as soon as you start to feel any of those symptoms. Especially if you have problems with shortness of breath, heart palpitations or skipped beats.

Those actually are a warning signs that you can’t ignore at all.

Those also could be a symptoms of heart failure or even some other heart complications.



Hi there.

To understand this defect first you need to know some basic things about the way how heart is typical working.

Heart has four chambers like you already know. In very healthy heart, blood that returns from the body to the right – sided filling chamber is low in oxygen. This blood passes to the right sided pumping chamber and then it goes to the lungs to receive the oxygen.  

Some of the symptoms are : poor growth, poor appetite, shortness of breath, lung problems, pneumonia, fatigue, etc.

Actually, I know that those are the symptoms in kids but I believe that the symptoms in older are totally the same.




Hey there Bee.

Now I am reading this topic all over again and I didn’t saw that you are having some other heart issues. I am wondering what those problems are? But let me try answering your question. It definitely can make it worse. Atrial septal defect can make worse everything if you are dealing with some other heart issues.

So please, once again I need to tell you that you need to visit your doctor immediately if you see that you are having any of those symptoms that others already wrote you in here.

I am sorry to tell you that doctors can’t find exact cause of it but they can find the treatment.