Atrial Septal Defect or ASD is considered a congenital defect of the Heart.

Formation of a passageway in the heart exists or arises during embryo stages.

The passageway is called a foramen ovale.

The foramen ovale is necessary while in the womb, oxygen comes to the embyro via the placenta rather than the Lungs.

The passageway typically covers itself during the end of fetal development and often completely becomes covered after birth when blood flow rises in the Pulmonary System.

Atrial Septal Defect therefore is when the passageway continues after birth.

Diagnosis occurs often in children but can also be found in adults

Several forms exist
1. Ostium secundum
2. Ostium primum
3. Sinus venous defect
4. others

The passageway allows for blood to flow from the left atria to the right atria

This causes mixing of blood with oxygen and blood without oxygen called shunting

The severity of the passageway determines the concern for the individual

A Right-to-Left shunting is a more alarming condition


  • Elevated pulmonary hypertension
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Cough
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Cardiac murmur
  • Cardiac failure


  • ECG is helpful in some cases depending on size of foramen ovale.
  • X-ray can be useful
  • Echocardiography/Doppler is essential to confirm the diagnosis
  • MRI and CT can often visualize the defect itself.


  • Antibiotic treatment to limit possible Endocarditis
  • Surgery
  • Percutaneous closure devices if available