Atrial Septal Defect

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Atrial septal defect is a birth defect that causes a hole in the wall between the hearts upper chambers. Dr. Edward Hill discusses atrial septal defects in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

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

Many babies born with atrial septal defects dont have associated signs or symptoms. In adults, signs or symptoms usually begin by age 30, but in some cases signs and symptoms may not occur until decades later.

Atrial septal defect signs and symptoms may include:

Shortness of breath, especially when exercising


Swelling of legs, feet or abdomen

Heart palpitations or skipped beats

Frequent lung infections

Stroke, and

Heart murmur, a whooshing sound that can be heard through a stethoscope

Large and long-standing atrial septal defects can damage your heart and lungs. Small defects may never cause a problem and may be found incidentally.

Surgery may be necessary to repair atrial septal defects to prevent complications. Follow-up care depends on the type of defect and whether other defects are present.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.