A hole in the heart is a type of Congenital heart defect which in medical terminology referred to as a Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) or an Atrial Septal Defect (ASD). In terms of Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD), a wall between the main pumping chambers of the heart (the ventricles) is abnormally opened. And in Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) terms, there is a hole in the wall between the two upper chambers of the heart (the atria). This condition is congenital means present at birth.
Signs of this condition:
In some cases, such small defects never cause any problem, and few of the Atrial Septal Defects (ASD) close on its own during infancy or early childhood.
The amount of blood that flows to the lungs through-hole increases tremendously causing damage to your heart and lungs. So, to prevent further complications, it is always advisable to get the surgery or device closure to repair septal defects.
Symptoms of this condition:
The tendency to develop such defects may be due to Genetic syndrome. Sometimes, there are no signs or symptoms of such defects in the early stage but can begin in adulthood.
Few of its symptoms are:
- Shortness of breath while exercising
- Swollen legs, feet, or abdomen
- Heart murmur, an extra noise that can be heard by the doctor through a stethoscope
Causes of the hole in the heart:
- Genetic disorder:
There might be a higher chance of getting a child a septal defect if any one of the parents has a congenital heart defect. However, it is not necessary to have more than one child with such a defect.
- Hereditary disorder:
A hereditary disorder like Down syndrome often also creates chances amongst children to have a heart defect from birth.
Mothers who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to deliver a child with congenital heart defects like ASD and VSD.
There is often no clear reason for such cases but such congenital heart defects arise from errors early in the heart’s development. Factors like genetics and environmental only play a role.
Such conditions must not be left untreated or undiagnosed, else it will lead to the following conditions:
- Arrhythmias, which disrupts the normal electrical activity of the heart.
- Extra load on the heart causes failure.
- Pulmonary hypertension, which scars the lung’s arteries because of high blood pressure and volume.
To diagnose the condition, the doctor can perform the following:
- Chest X-ray
- Pulse oximetry which is used to check the blood’s oxygen level
- Cardiac catheterization
- Electrocardiograph testing (ECG)
- Ultrasound testing
Available treatments for this condition:
Hole in the heart causes many defect-related deaths. But due to advancements in health care, these deaths are steeply declining with the increasing survival chances. As many ASD’s close on their own during the early birth year of the child. But there are separate treatments based on the age of a child or an adult.
Every condition requires certain treatment which involves some procedures to seal the hole in the heart.
- Catheter Procedure:
In this procedure, catheter inserts into the vein of the groin and threading it up towards the septum under the influence of anaesthesia. Catheter than pushed out the two small discs that are attached to it, plug the hole between the heart’s atria. It takes six months to grow normal tissues around the device.
In this procedure, a surgeon uses the special patch to cover the hole through an incision in the chest.
Apart, in some defects, which do not cause any symptoms, treatment is done through:
Supplement of Extra Nutrition:
In small babies, extra nutrition is supplemented through breast milk, high-nutrition formulas, bottle-feeding, etc.
Precautions or steps that should be taken to stay healthy during the treatment of Hole in Heart?
Children who have been treated under this condition should take regular follow up with the doctor to track health progress. An adult who has undergone this treatment should follow the guidelines prescribed by the doctor before returning to normal activities. Also, if prescribed by your cardiologist within the guidelines, an exercise is good to stay you and your heart healthy.