Device Closures

DEVICE CLOSURES

Overview

If you follow a lot of movies, the one common ailment you definitely must have heard of is a “hole in the heart”. The condition sounds scary and ominous, especially in the context of children. So does this condition actually exist? Is it really bad and is there any treatment available? Here, we take a look at this condition (Atrial Septal Defect), its symptoms, causes and treatment.

To understand what this medical condition – Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) – actually mean, we need to understand how a human heart works. To keep things simple, let us understand that a human heart is made up of four chambers. These chambers are separated by walls and the blood flows from one to another by means of a valve in these walls.

The flow of blood happens in a particular direction. The deoxygenated blood flows from the right chamber of the heart to the lungs. In the lungs, oxygen gets dissolved in the blood, which then flows through the left chambers to the different organs by means of the circulatory system. The term atrial septal defect refers to the condition where there is a hole in the wall between the upper left and right chambers of the heart (atria).

In case of a patient having atrial septal defect, the oxygenated blood flows back into the right chamber, mixes with the deoxygenated blood and flows back to the lungs, thereby overworking the heart and causing pulmonary hypertension. That’s why the common atrial septal defect symptoms include

  • Fatigue after any activity
  • Shortness of breath
  • Palpitations or skipped heartbeats
  • Swelling of legs

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ASD is a congenital disease and is generally found in children whose heart walls do not form properly during pregnancy. A small ASD may never even be identified as it does not cause problems. But, a large atrial septal defect can damage the heart and lungs, therefore needs atrial septal defect surgery or atrial septal defect treatment. The most common atrial septal defect treatment (especially for secundum ASD – the hole in the middle of the wall) is by means of closure devices. The vascular closure device is a specially designed double wire mesh that is inserted with the help of a catheter, guided to the hole and opened so that one of the mesh opens at each side. With passage of time, heart tissue grows over the closure device, making it part of the heart. Therefore, Vascular Closure Devices are a permanent correction treatment for ASD.

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