Atrial Septal Defect Closure

This procedure is performed as open-heart surgery to correct an atrial septal defect (ASD).

Pre-Operative Details

Your surgeon will give specific instructions and details before the surgery, including risks such as bleeding, infection, or adverse reaction to anesthesia. Please be sure to contact your insurance company for coverage. You will also meet with the anesthesiologist prior to the surgery to go over your medical history. Also, you should not eat after midnight the night before the surgery.

On the day of surgery, you will arrive at the hospital and register. A nurse will review your chart to make sure there are no problems and get all the paperwork in order. The anesthesiologist will then start an IV and you will be taken to the operating room, where the surgeon will verify your name and procedure before any medication is given. Once you’re under anesthesia, surgery will begin.

For Pediatric Patients — It's important that children are free from infection, including dental infections, up to six weeks prior to surgery. Please be sure that your child's immunization records are made available to your surgeon or the nurse.

Operative Details

Before an incision is made, a cardiologist will do a transesophageal echocardiogram to provide the surgeon a way of looking at the structure of the heart during the surgery. The incision will be made in the breastbone to access the heart. You are then placed on cardiopulmonary bypass, a device used to provide oxygenated blood to the body – bypassing the heart and lungs so that the surgeon can operate. An incision will be made in the right atrium to access the defect.

The patch, either your own pericardial tissue or asynthetic graft, is then stitched onto the defect to close it. The heart is closed with sutures and the cardiopulmonary bypass machine is removed. Pacing wires will then be placed temporarily on the heart as a safety measure for heart rhythm abnormalities after the operation. You will also have chest tubes placed to collect any residual blood or fluid left in the chest after the surgery. The skin is then closed with stitches or staples.

Post-Operative Details

After the surgery, you will be taken to the intensive care unit and monitored for heart and lung changes. Pain is likely, and you’ll be given pain medication appropriately. You will also have a breathing tube and respirator for the first few hours after surgery. It’s important to keep the incision areas clean and dry.

The length of the hospital stay depends on how quickly you recover and can perform some physical activity. Please let your doctor know immediately if you experience fevers, severe pain, redness, swelling, warmth where the incisions were made, or drainage from the incisions. Your surgeon will give specific instructions about recovery time.