The heart, which is responsible in pumping blood into the different parts of the body, is segmented into four chambers: the left atrium, the right atrium, the left ventricle, and the right ventricle. Deoxygenated blood first enters to the right atrium before it is pumped down into the right ventricle. The deoxygenated blood from the right ventricle then enters the lungs for oxygenation. The oxygenated blood enters the left atrium, and then the left ventricle before it is pumped out of the body.
The left and the right chambers are divided by a muscular wall called septum. Because fetus inside the mother’s womb gets the oxygen it needs through the placenta, there is no need for the baby’s lungs to oxygenize blood. To by-pass the lungs, the septum has natural holes that close immediately upon birth. When holes that connect the two atriums fail to close after birth, ASD occurs.
There are many possible causes of ASD. According to Williams Kherkher, babies born from mothers who took Zofran to fight against morning sickness were at higher risk of ASD. Exposure to tobacco, alcohol, and certain infection while inside the womb may also cause ASD. A mother who is diabetic, obese, or has suffered from lupus may have a higher chance of delivering a baby with ASD.
As said on the website of the American Heart Association, during an ASD the oxygenated blood leaks into the deoxygenated one, where it will be pumped back to the lungs for oxygenation. Most children born with ASD have no signs and symptoms until older age. However, babies with larger or multiple atrial septal holes run the risk of experiencing ASD signs and symptoms such as heart murmurs, palpitations, shortness of breath, and weakness.
Because a mix of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood surges into the lungs, individuals with ASD are also more prone to lung infections. They are also more likely to suffer from pulmonary hypertension (increased blood pressure in the blood vessels of the lungs), and abnormal heart rhythm, both of which may cause fatal heart attack and stroke.
When you are diagnosed with ASD, remember that this heart condition is totally manageable. Invasive treatments can be done to seal bigger atrial holes. Consult with your doctor about what you can do to manage ASD symptoms and the preparations you should undertake if ever you need to get your ASD repaired.