Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)
Atrial septal defects, also known as "holes in the heart," occur early during fetal development as the heart develops. An atrial septal defect is a hole between in the two chambers of the heart that can either be small and likely to close on its own or large and likely to cause long-term heart and lung problems.
In some cases, an adult will live his or her life without realizing he/she has an atrial septal defect. This may result in high blood pressure in the lungs or heart failure. In many cases, babies won't show signs of heart defects. Some people don't experience symptoms until they're 30 or older.
People with large holes in the upper chambers might experience the following symptoms:
- Heart murmur
- Shortness of breath during exercise
- Irregular heartbeat, palpitations
- Frequent lung infections
- Blue tint to the skin
If your child experiences any of the following signs or symptoms, you should seek medical attention right away:
- Bluish skin
- Excessive tiredness
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
- Swelling of the legs, feet or abdomen
Small atrial septal defects usually close during infancy and don't cause problems for the child. Larger defects, on the other hand, can lead to serious complications, including pulmonary hypertension (increased blood flow to the lungs) and eisenmenger syndrome (permanent lung damage).
Complications can also include shortened life span, increased risk of stroke, irregular heartbeat and right-sided heart failure.
In most cases, the hole will close on its own. When it doesn't, treatment might include medications and surgery to plug the hole. Some cases will require follow up care, but it will depend on the severity of the defect and the age in which the patient is diagnosed.
If your baby is born with an atrial septal defect or another type of congenital abnormality, you might have legal options. If you took Zoloft® (sertraline) or another SSRI medication during your pregnancy, you might be eligible for financial compensation. To learn more, please contact our birth defect lawyers today.