A hole in the heart is a defect or a heart problem that adversely affects your heart’s functioning. In medical terms, this condition is referred to as a Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) or an Atrial Septal Defect (ASD). In the case of VSD, a wall gets opened between the main pumping chambers of your heart; and in the case of ASD, a hole is formed in the wall between the two upper chambers of the heart. This defect is congenital, which means that people are born with this condition, and it is referred to as a genetic syndrome.
Some of the most common symptoms of hole in heart include shortness of breath, weariness, swollen legs, heart strokes, inflamed abdomen, etc. A heart murmur is another symptom of a hole in the heart that you may experience. A heart murmur is a noise in your heart other than a heartbeat, that can be heard through a stethoscope. If you want to understand more about the symptoms, you can schedule an appointment with a specialist.
What Is Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) And What Are Its Symptoms?
An Atrial Septal Defect or ASD is a heart defect in the septum that develops between your heart’s upper chambers. This condition is found in people at the time of their births, making it a congenital defect. The hole that develops in your heart increases the blood flow through your lungs. Sometimes the symptoms of a hole in the heart can’t be seen vividly and result in severe conditions. In such cases, you may require surgery to repair the atrial septal defects.
The most common symptoms of a hole in the heart concerning the atrial septal defect include the following:
- Shortness of breath while performing physical activities
- Inflammation in legs, feet, ankles, or abdomen
- Abnormal heart palpitations
- Heart strokes
- Skipped heartbeats
If you experience any of these symptoms, it becomes imperative to see a doctor. You may want to consult with one of the best cardiologists if you experience excessive fatigue, heart palpitations, swelling in any part of your body, among other symptoms.
What is a Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)?
A Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) is a hole in the heart present at the time of birth. It is generally located on the wall of your heart that separates the heart’s lower chambers and allows your heart to pass the blood flow from the left to the right side of the heart. The condition forces the heart to work harder in your body, especially when it has to pump oxygen-rich blood back to the lungs.
As long as VSD is small, it causes no severe problems and any other heart diseases. But if the VSD is medium or large, you may be required to undergo heart surgery.
The most common symptoms of a hole in the heart mainly include breathlessness, heavy breathing, weariness, poor eating habits, etc. Your doctor may easily detect this condition at birth. However, if VSD is small, symptoms may start to appear during your childhood.
Call your doctor if your baby is not gaining weight, experiencing breathlessness, feeling tired, and breathing heavily after performing physical activity. The symptoms of a hole in the heart can develop in the later stages of your life. If you suffer from shortness of breath, abnormal heartbeats, extreme fatigue, among other symptoms, you may want to consult with a heart specialist.
How Are Ventricular Septal Defects Diagnosed And Treated?
VSDs are found at the time of birth when the doctor performs a routine checkup. During the checkup, if the doctor hears a heart murmur in the child’s heart, they will refer you to a pediatric cardiologist who specializes in treating pediatric heart conditions. You may want to consult with a specialist if your child experiences any signs and symptoms of hole in heart.
During your consultation, a physical examination is conducted in addition to reviewing medical history. The other tests include:
- A chest X-ray
- An electrocardiogram (EKG) records the heart’s electrical activity
- Cardiac catheterization provides useful information about the heart’s structures and the blood pressure in the heart chambers.
For the treatment, the doctor considers the child’s age, physical condition, the severity of the condition, and location of the VSD. In the case of a small defect, a surgical operation is not required, but on the other hand, surgical intervention may be required if the defect is severe. The treatment includes
The surgery is performed in the first few months of a child’s birth. An incision is made on the chest wall, and the hole is stitched directly. The surgeon may also sew a patch using a surgical material on the top of the hole. Six months after the surgery, the hole will be entirely covered with tissue.
In this process, a thin tube is inserted in one of the blood vessels of the leg, which reaches the heart. Two disks are then implanted into the hole that flattens the septum on both sides and, in turn, closes the hole.
If surgical intervention is required to treat VSD, you may want to consider a hospital that offers state of the art infrastructure coupled with some of the most experienced and skilled heart surgeons.
How Are Atrial Septal Defects Diagnosed And Treated?
ASDs are diagnosed under two conditions that are mentioned below.
Various screening tests are performed on pregnant women to check for congenital disabilities and other conditions in the unborn child. ASD can be detected during an ultrasound. It also gives the overall size and location in the heart.
After The Baby Is Born
If a baby experiences extreme tiredness, lung infections, difficulty breathing, abnormal heartbeats, strokes, etc., they are likely to have a hole in their heart. To detect ASD, the doctor will listen to the child’s heartbeat with a stethoscope. The doctor may even perform other tests such as an echocardiogram to diagnose the problem further.
As far as its treatment is concerned, it largely depends on the child’s age, physical features, symptoms, and location of the hole. Your doctor may prescribe medication to treat the problem if the condition is not severe. If the condition is severe, only then surgical intervention may be required. At Ujala Cygnus Multi Speciality Hospital, surgery is followed by after-care, and a suggestion to sound lifestyle approach, failing which your condition can get severe again.