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Hello everyone.

My niece has Atrial Septal defect since she was 13. She was dealing with it pretty much ok, she never had any problems at all. Now, she is older, she is 24 years old and she has some health issues and she is in pain. She never treated it in any special way, she was treating it with medications, but it seems to us that she will need some other way of the treatment.

So I want to know what is atrial septal defect actually and how is it treated?

What are the ways? Thank you so much. 

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Hi Potato,

Actually she was born with Atrial Septal Defect.  It's a congenital issue.

Basically there is a hole between the upper chambers of her heart.  This allows oxygen rich and oxygen poor blood to mix so that there is less oxygen available to her body.

Small holes can often heal themselves during childhood.  In adults, left untreated, it can lead to heart problems.  Often it is undiagnosed - it may not cause any noticeable symptoms.

Treatment is surgery to repair the hole.  Hope it helps.

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Hey Couch Potato,

Like Medic Dan wrote, this is something that you are born with so I'm guessing that she only found out that she has atrial septal defect when she was 13 years old.

Many people never find out that they even have this condition. These holes close by themselves, some don't, but they are still way too small in order to be a threat for this person or to make any signs of it appear.

Since this is a hole that we are talking about, medications can't help, except to reduce the signs and symptoms, rather than that, surgery is recommended.

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Hello everyone,

Yes, surgery is the best and actually, the only option in order to fix this. There are two different types of surgery that are done to help people with atrial septal defect and these are cardiac catheterization and open heart surgery.

Cardiac catheterization is a procedure during which the doctors insert a thin tube (catheter) into a blood vessel in the groin and guide it to the heart using imaging techniques. Through the catheter, doctors set a mesh patch or plug into place to close the hole. The heart tissue grows around the mesh, permanently sealing the hole. This procedure is only used for smaller holes, bigger holes require open heart surgery.

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Hello everyone,

You are right, Alan, that's why an open heart surgery is usually better than cardiac catheterization, and it has a better success rate.

This type of surgery is done under local anesthesia and it requires use of heart-lung machine. The doctors will make an incision in the chest and they will patch the holes through that incision. This procedure is preferred because some types of atrial septal defect can only be fixed by this procedure. 

After the procedure is done, if it was a minor problem, a small hole, one won't have to see his doctor often, but if the hole was bigger, it is advised that you have regular follow-up appointments to check for complications.

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Hello everyone,

I don't think that atrial septal defect is the condition that is causing her the pain that you are talking about, Couch Potato.

You see, she has lived 24 years without having any trouble with atrial septal defect so it is unlikely that she will have problems with it now. Also, this condition doesn't have any symptoms because of which she would be in pain. Symptoms of this condition are shortness of breath, fatigue, swelling of the legs, feet or abdomen, heart palpitations or skipped beats, frequent lung infections, stroke, heart murmur, but not any kind of pain. She is dealing with something else here.

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Good day there.
Let me join this discussion if I may. I didn't know that this disease is a congenital issue. And you know why? Because I remember that one of my friends told me that she and her husband find out that he is having this disease. When I asked her to tell me more about this disease, she told me that she doesn't know a lot but that they believe that he got this disease after his first heart attack. Now, I can see that this is not possible, right? And she never also mentioned any surgery. Are medications a way to treat it?
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I agree with medic dan. This disease is congenital issue. You need to know that many babies are born with a small ventricular septal defect and it this case they won't need any surgery to close the hole. Now, after the birth your doctor may want to observe your baby and treat symptoms while waiting to see if the defect closes on its own. And everyone should do this because this is something that needs to be observed. Sometimes babies need surgical repair and usually this procedure is done in their first year. So those are they ways of the treatment.
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Folks,
Medication only treats the symptoms. It does NOT treat the cause - the defect.
In infants and children they usually outgrow it. Not so with an adult.
Coffee, it actually could have increased the odds of the heart attack.
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Hi everyone. She is dealing with one of the more commonly recognized congenital cardiac anomalies that exists.  Atrial septal defect is present in adulthood. Atrial septal defect is characterized by a defect in the interatrial septum allowing pulmonary venous return from the left atrium to pass directly to the right atrium. Now, depending on the size of this defect, size of the shunt, and some other possible anomalies, this actually can result in a spectrum of disease from no significant cardiac squeal. It can also lead to pulmonary arterial hypertension, and even atrial arrhythmias. It is treated with the surgery or with the medications.  

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Hey there. I have to agree with you totally. I know that I used to tell my friends that she can't treat some things with medications, but she never wanted to listen to me. She was pretty sure that she can heal disease with medications. Until she went to the surgery - it was really risky surgery because she didn't wanted to believe in this.
But I didn't know that coffee could have increased the odds of the heart attack? I drink a lot of coffee and I was pretty sure that I can prevent heart attack if I drink three to four cups of coffee.
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