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The heart is a muscular pump that has four chambers. An atrial septal defect is an opening in the wall between the upper chambers of the heart. It is a type of congenital heart defect, which means that your child was born with it. When this defect is present, some of the blood may flow from one side of the heart through the hole to the other side. This can strain the heart.
A very small hole may not cause problems. Larger holes can weaken the heart and lead to heart failure. Your doctor will determine if the defect should be closed.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:
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Current as of: January 10, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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