A percutaneous septal defect closure is a procedure in which a septal defect (a hole in the wall between left and right chambers in the heart) is repaired with the use of catheter-based instruments.
Why is percutaneous septal defect closure performed?
Your doctor may perform a percutaneous septal defect closure if you have a septal defect in your heart that is large enough to cause problems. (Learn more about septal defects) Symptoms of a large opening can include shortness of breath, faster breathing, pulmonary (lung) hypertension, stroke, arrhythmias and even heart failure.
What happens in a percutaneous septal defect closure procedure?
Percutaneous septal defect closures are performed in a special operating room called a cardiac catheterization laboratory ("cath lab"), and the entire procedure lasts between 2 and 4 hours.
- First you're given some medication to help you relax; then your doctor numbs the site where the catheter will be inserted (either in the arm or in the groin) with a local anesthetic.
- The doctor uses a needle to make a small hole in your arm or groin and inserts a tapered tube called a sheath into the hole.
- A catheter is inserted through the sheath into your blood vessel and navigated to the blocked artery, guided by an imaging method called fluoroscopy.
- The hole in the heart chamber is first measured using a balloon at the end of the catheter. This is followed by placement of a patch (closure device), which is made of wire mesh covered by a membrane or fabric. The patch will eventually be covered by heart tissue and become part of the septum.
- When the procedure is complete, your doctor removes the catheter and the sheath and closes the opening in your blood vessel.
What can I expect after a percutaneous septal defect closure?
After the procedure, you will be moved to a special care unit, where you will be asked to remain still while the catheter insertion site closes. Your care team will check your blood pressure, temperature and other vital signs regularly.
Most patients spend 1 to 2 days in the hospital following a percutaneous septal defect closure. Before you go home, your doctor will give you specific instructions to follow, including how much activity you can do, when and how to take your medications, and how to care for the catheter insertion site. Be sure to follow his or her instructions closely, and feel free to call the office if you have any questions.
Learn about other catheter-based procedures:
- Transradial Catheterization
- Radiofrequency Ablation
- Balloon Valvuloplasty
- Alcohol Septal Ablation
For more information about Methodist DeBakey Cardiology Associates or to make an appointment, please call us at 713-441-1100 or 888-361-4375, or contact us online.