The heart is made up of 4 chambers: two filling chambers (medical term: right and left atria) and two pumping chambers (medical term: right and left ventricles). In the normal heart, the left ventricle pumps blood to the body and the right ventricle pumps blood to the lungs.
The left heart contains oxygen-rich blood for the body. The right heart contains oxygen-poor blood, which is pumped through the lungs to be filled with oxygen
The term ASD is shorthand for Atrial Septal Defect. Translating this into plain English:
Therefore, an ASD is a HOLE in the WALL between the TOP CHAMBERS of the heart. Blood flow through the hole can increase blood to the right heart, stretch the right heart chambers, and increase blood flow to the lungs.
ASDs are one of the most common types of CHD.
When you’re young, an ASD might not cause any symptoms. Actually, many ASDs are found only after a cardiac test or when a doctor hears an extra rumble or swish of blood when listening to the heart.
Some larger ASDs may cause problems in adulthood. This might include high pressures in the lungs, a weak heart muscle and unusual heart rhythms. The risk of stroke can also be increased. Large ASDs are usually closed when they are found.
If you have an ASD, deep sea diving is not for you. This is because bubbles can form in the blood during deep sea diving. The bubbles can pass through the ASD to the wrong side of the heart. This can make you very sick and that’s why diving is not a good idea. If you really want to dive, you should meet with your cardiologist and discuss having your ASD closed.
Will I need treatment as I get older?
Many of you will have had your ASD closed when you were young. Following closure of an ASD, there should be no problems with physical activity and no restrictions. However, regular clinic visits with a cardiologist may still be recommended.
If you have an ASD that’s causing problems, it can be closed. The ASD can be closed with a device that ‘plugs’ the hole, inserted during a cardiac catheterization.
For some people with an ASD, surgery is the best option. You and your doctor can talk about it to decide what is best for you.
This website is designed specifically for young people with congenital heart disease. The goal is to provide information to help people who are getting ready to move (or have recently moved) to adult heart care. We use the term ‘transition’ to describe this process. Family, friends and health care providers may also find this website helpful.
Please be advised this site does not provide medical advice. All of the content on this website is provided for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have or suspect you have a health problem, please consult your family physician. If you have or suspect you are experiencing a health emergency, please promptly visit a Hospital Emergency Department in your area. Reliance on any information provided on or provided in relation to the site is solely at your own risk. Contributors to this website are not responsible, nor liable, for any claim, loss or damage arising from the use of the information contained within this site.
Any websites linked from this website are created by other organizations. Those organizations are responsible for the information contained within their sites. We are not responsible for the content of linked third-party sites or third-party advertisements and do not make any representations regarding their content or accuracy. Your use of third-party websites is at your own risk and subject to the terms and conditions of use for such sites. Any specific comments regarding these sites should be directed toward that individual organization.
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Anyone can visit this website and most users will create their own User IDs and passwords. However, there are also Adult Congenital Heart Disease (ACHD) and pediatric cardiology programs that have officially joined the iHeartChange team and work together to keep this website going. (You can find a list of the ACHD programs in the ‘Welcome to Adult Care’ section of the website). Some of these programs might choose to assign User IDs so that they can track of and how patients from their own programs visit the website. They might even want to track this for research. If you have been assigned a User ID from a program, that program might ask us to give them information about your answers to the ‘Getting to Know You’ survey, how many times you log into the website and which web pages you visit.
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If you visit them all, you can earn a transition diploma!
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HELPING YOU MAKE THE MOVE TO ADULT CONGENITAL HEART DISEASE CARE
Thanks for checking out our website!
This website is designed mainly for young people with congenital heart disease (CHD). The aim is to help people feel more ready to “transition” from pediatric to adult care. And we know that family, friends and health care providers might also want to check it out!
Since this is your first visit, please read our disclaimer!