Percutaneous Septal Defect Closure

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A percutaneous septal defect closure uses catheter-based instruments to repair a septal defect (a hole in the muscular wall between the left and right heart chambers).

Symptoms of Percutaneous Septal Defect Closure
Symptoms of a large defect can include shortness of breath, abnormally rapid breathing, pulmonary hypertension, stroke, arrhythmias and even heart failure.

Doctors may perform a percutaneous septal defect closure if the septal defect is large enough to cause problems.

Percutaneous Septal Defect Closure Procedure
Percutaneous septal defect closures are performed in a special operating room called a cardiac catheterization laboratory (cath lab). The entire procedure lasts between two and four hours. 

In addition to relaxing sedatives, patients receive a local anesthetic to numb the catheter insertion site. The doctor uses a needle to make a small incision in the arm or groin and inserts a tapered tube called a sheath into the hole.

A catheter is inserted through the sheath and navigated through a blood vessel to the blocked artery, guided by an imaging method called fluoroscopy. The hole in the heart chamber is measured using a balloon at the end of the catheter. Then a special patch called a closure device, made of wire mesh covered by a membrane or fabric, is put in place. This patch will eventually be covered by heart tissue and become part of the septum.

When the closure is complete, the doctor removes the catheter and the sheath and closes the opening in the blood vessel.

Percutaneous Septal Defect Closure Recovery
It normally takes four to six hours for the catheter insertion site to close properly on its own, while the patient rests comfortably in a special care unit. During this time, a care team will regularly check the patient's blood pressure, temperature and other vital signs.

Most patients spend one to two days in the hospital following a percutaneous septal defect closure. Before leaving the hospital, the patient receives specific instructions to optimize their recovery at home, including information about any activity restrictions, taking medications and caring for the catheter insertion site. 

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