Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is. The most common type of ASD may close on its own as your child grows.
Once an atrial septal defect is diagnosed, your child's cardiologist will check your child to see if the defect is closing on its own. An ASD will usually be fixed if it has not closed by the time a child starts school. The decision to close the ASD may also depend on the size of the defect.
Treatment may include:
- Medicine. Many children have no symptoms and don't need medicine. But medicine can help some children's hearts work better. For example, water pills (diuretics) help the kidneys get rid of extra fluid from the body.
- Surgery. Your child's ASD may be repaired by surgery. The surgery is done under general anesthesia. The defect may be closed with stitches or a special patch.
- Device closure. Some children are helped with this procedure. The doctor uses cardiac catheterization to put a special device (septal occluder) in the open ASD. The device stops blood from flowing through the ASD.
All children with an ASD need to be cared for by a pediatric cardiologist. Most children who have had an ASD repair will live healthy lives. After the repair, your child's doctor may want your child to take antibiotics. This will prevent an infection of the heart lining (bacterial endocarditis).
With early diagnosis and repair of an ASD, children usually do very well. They don't need much follow-up care. Children are more likely to have problems if an ASD is diagnosed later in life and never repaired. Or they may have problems if complications occur after closing the defect.
Some children develop high blood pressure in the lungs (pulmonary hypertension). These children should have follow-up care at a center that specializes in congenital heart disease.
Talk with your child's healthcare provider about the outlook for your child.