Before the treatment, it has to be examined that where is the hole located? What is its size? And what is its type? On these factors, the treatment depends. The treatment used to serve a hole in heart is catheter procedures (aka cardiac catheterization) or open-heart surgery. Not every hole needs a treatment, but those who do need a treatment are preferably operated in infancy or before adulthood. In rare cases, the adults are treated when they are facing some big issues.
Commonly timely scheduled checkups are done to verify that the hole in heart, also known as atrial septal defect (ASD), is the one closing by itself or not. Statistics shows that there are 20 percent chances of healing a hole by itself in first year of life. If the patient is not so fortunate, doctor will recommend regular checkups for observation and eventually treatment which will incorporate catheter or surgical procedures.
What are the Different Types of Surgeries Available for Treating the Hole in Heart?
Catheter procedure in 1990s came to the medical field overpowering the ordinary open-heart surgery and catheter procedure is very useful, especially to cover up the secundum ASDs. Since this treatment is typically given in early ages of life, so a sedative is injected to put the patient to sleep and in due course prevent the child from experiencing pain.
In this procedure, the catheter (a thin tube) is inserted into vein or blood vessels in the groin and attached close to the septum of heart (via 3D imaging techniques). Catheter has a small device in it and when it reaches the hole, the device is pushed out to plug the hole between the atria. Later, in 6 months, the heart tissue grows and covers the device. Removal of device is neither needed nor harmful. Echocardiography or transesophageal and angiography can be used sometimes to place the catheter correctly and heal the hole. Treatment via catheter is easy, less painful and provides fast recovery as there is only a needle is used to insert catheter. Records say that only 1 out of 10 patients fail while having a closure through catheter. And in the cases where defect is very big, surgery comes into play.
Open heart surgery generally takes place in case of primum or sinus venosus atrial septal defect. During the surgery, the doctor will make an incision in the chest and try to reach the defect. The patient goes under a heart-lung bypass machine to keep the heart open all the time during surgery. The results of surgery are unremarkable as after 3 to 4 days of hospital, the patient goes back to regular life. It is very much rare that bleeding or infections spread during or after open-heart surgery of atrial septal defect. The only condition that can come in light is pericarditis in which an inflammation is developed at the outer lining of heart. But this complication can be resolved by medications afterwards.
There are instances where child has ventricular septal defects (VSDs), but do not notice any symptoms. In this scenario, doctors monitor and observe the child. These regular checkups tell that whether the hole is self-healing or not. The patient has to go for checkup once in a year or two. The doctor will let you know the frequency of visitation and checkups. During the treatment for ventricular septal defects extra nutrition is recommended. The execution of surgery will only happen when the defect is large in size or affects the aortic value. When the defect does not heal by itself and causing symptoms, doctors will recommend a surgery.
Having said the above, specialists will advise you to never ignore the symptoms of a hole in heart. Also, never delay for checkups and medications. Get the appropriate treatment your heart demands and take all the precautions needed. Be active and stay healthy.