The human heartshowhide heart defect

The human heart

Possible heart defects


Atrial septal defect - ASD

What is it?

Atrial septal defect (ASD) is a hole in the septum (separating wall in the heart) between the two atria. Through the shunt oxygen rich blood can flow from the left atrium back into the right atrium, thereby returning into the pulmonary circulation.

How does the defect occur?

An atrial septal defect is a congenital heart defect and occurs during the course of embryonic development.

How is the defect treated?

The defect can be treated through open heart surgery. Depending on the size, it is closed by suturing or by a kind of patch. Today, a minimally invasive catheter technique is mainly being used. 

A special catheter is inserted into the blood vessels in the inguinal area and advanced into the heart. Through this catheter a measuring ballon is inserted and advanced iton the heart to determine the size of the whole. Transoesophageal echocardiography is also performed to compare the size of the defect again. An occluder of the proper size is then advanced to the heart via the catheter and positioned in the defect. The occluder closes the hole and becomes firmly ingrown over time. 

Here you can see how the Nit-Occlud® ASD occluder is put into place.