Septal Defect Closure

In the heart, a muscular wall called a septum separates the left and right atria (upper chambers) and left and right ventricles (lower chambers). If a hole, or defect, appears in either septum, it causes blood to leak between the left and right sides of the heart. Septal defects are usually congenital (present at birth).

Symptoms of Septal Defect
Symptoms of septal defect include a heart murmur and shortness of breath. Risk factors include a family history of septal defect or of other genetic disorders, such as Down syndrome.

Septal Defect Treatment
If a septal defect is large enough to cause problems, the doctor will probably recommend that it be repaired. In cases where open surgery is necessary, it has a better chance of success if performed before the development of significant pulmonary hypertension.

Under general anesthesia, the surgeon first opens the chest to gain access to the heart. To get to the defective septum, the surgeon then opens one of the heart's four chambers (depending on the location of the defect). Using either stitches or a specially designed patch, the surgeon closes the hole in the septum and finishes by closing back up the heart and chest.

At Houston Methodist a multidisciplinary team works with each patient to ensure the best possible care.

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