closure of atrial septal defect and patent foramen ovale

An atrial septal defect (ASD) is a small hole in the heart’s muscle (septum) that separates the two smaller chambers of the heart known as the right and left atrium. The ASD creates inefficiency with the oxygenation process because this defect allows the oxygen rich blood to cross from the left atrium to the right atrium of the heart. This means that the oxygenated blood displaces the blood that needs oxygen.

A patent foramen ovale is very similar because it is a defect occurring between the left and right atrium of the heart. During the fetal gestational period, the fetal heart has a different blood flow process than after birth. In a fetal heart, the foramen ovale allows oxygenated blood to flow between the right and left atrium and, normally, closes after birth. When this closure does not occur following birth, this defect is known as patent foramen ovale and can cause chest pain, shortness of breath, migraine headaches and strokes.

Using open heart surgery, the atrial septal defect and the patent foramen ovale can be repaired by placing a patch over the opening. However, the physicians of<br />Bon Secours Heart & Vascular Institute offer a less invasive procedure to close these defects. In the cardiac catheterization laboratory, as opposed to an operating room, a small patch is placed across the opening using a catheter system.

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