An Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) is a hole in the heart that you are born with. If small, then it may be that no treatment is required. However, if larger and causing a strain in the heart, or if paradoxical embolism has occurred, then the ASD will need to be closed.
ASD Closure with an umbrella device involves closing the hole in the heart without needing to perform open heart surgery. Certain parameters such as the size and position of the hole, and presence of any other heart defects will determine the strategy used to close the ASD.
What happens with ASD Closure?
You will need tests to ensure you are suitable for device closure of your ASD. These will include ECG, Echocardiography, Transoesophageal Echo (TOE) and MRI scanning.
Before your procedure, you will be given a general anaesthetic. To help your consultant navigate, your operation will be guided by X-rays and by ultrasound pictures from a probe in your throat.
A pipe will be passed through a catheter which will be placed from your groin up to your heart and a wire passed across the hole. A balloon may be used to assess the size of the hole.
A stiff tube will be passed over the wire and an “umbrella device” is placed into the hole to close it. Its position is assessed for stability and safety, and if looking perfect, it is released in position from the delivery cable.
You will usually go home the same day. Blood thinners will be needed for a few months. You will be asked not to lift more than 5-10Kg for about a month.
ASD closure is a low risk procedure- <1% risk. However, complications can occur, including:
- At the vascular access site i.e. pain, bleeding, bruising
- Heart rhythm problems
- Device displacement
- Internal bleeding at the time of the procedure
- Internal bleeding later due to device causing erosion in the heart