Hole in the Heart – Symptoms, Causes & Treatment
April 4, 2022
A normal heart is divided into two sides, the left and right, separated by a septum wall. The right side of the heart receives blood low in oxygen and sends it toward the lungs. Reloaded with oxygen, the blood returns from the lungs and empties into the left side of the heart. The septum averts the mixing of blood between the two sides.
Withal, some babies are born with a hole in the heart septum at the upper or lower walls. A hole in the septum dividing the upper left and right heart chambers is known as Atrial Septal Defect (ASD), and a septum hole in the lower sections is known as Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD). In addition, rising awareness about heart attack symptoms in men and women may lower the occurrence of heart attacks and as a hole in heart cases.
Types in Hole in the Heart Condition:
What are ASD and VSD?
An Atrial congenital heart defect (ASD) is a hole in the wall between the heart’s two upper chambers. ASD is a congenital condition present in a person since birth. A Ventricular septal defect (VSD) could be a hole in the wall between the two lower chambers. In ASD and VSD, purified blood in the left chamber mixes with oxygen-deficient blood on the right side. A large hole in ASD can cause the lungs to overfill with blood and make the heart work harder.
VSD in Adults:
VSD cases are relatively rare in adults, more severe and potentially fatal. The most common cause is damage to the heart muscle, causing a hole after a severe heart attack. The other reasons are heart surgeries and trauma to the heart. This sort of defect usually needs surgery.
VSD in Infants:
A VSD in infants is a congenital abnormality (one that the baby is born with) and occurs because of abnormal organ development during pregnancy. Babies born with a VSD and have other associated heart conditions are much more severe and require corrective surgery. Babies born with either a small VSD or an isolated finding usually have a better outcome. Many of them can live everyday lives without realising a problem. The VSD is generally picked up by a doctor when visited for someother conditions.
Symptoms of Hole in the Heart
A tiny hole in the heart may not cause any issues. However, a large hole is typically diagnosed soon after birth because it causes symptoms. Most ventricular septal defects are diagnosed by paediatricians when they examine newborns. ASDs can be more difficult to diagnose because they don’t always have easy signs to look for.
Symptoms of septal defects in babies include:
- Abnormal heartbeat
- Fast breathing
- Poor growth
- Trouble eating
In older children and adults, symptoms can include:
- Heart palpitations
- Inability to exercise
- Shortness of breath
Causes of holes in the heart
A child could also be at higher risk of congenital heart defect if either parent had a congenital heart defect. The presence of other genetic disorders: Children with other genetics disorder like Down’s syndrome can cause a hole in the heart.
Babies born to mothers who smoked during pregnancy are prone to congenital heart defects like ASD and VSD.
Also Read: Breathing Issues Due To Smoke & Smoking
When to Seek Medical Care?
Any of the subsequent should be reported to your child’s health care provider:
- Unusual weight gain in the first months of life
- Unusual behaviour
- Shortness of breath
- Bluish colour of the skin, lips, or under the nails
- Unusual or unexplained sweating
- Hole in the heart- Diagnosis & Treatment
- Physical exam- The doctor checks and listens to the heart and lungs with a stethoscope for a heart murmur
- Chest x-ray
- Cardiac catheterisation
- Pulse oximetry
Available Diagnostic procedures for a hole in the heart condition:
An echocardiogram An echocardiogram can confirm the presence of a hole in the heart. This painless test uses ultrasound waves to construct a movie of the heart. It can quantitate the size of the left-to-right shunt by enlargement of the left ventricle and pressure in the lungs and estimate the degree of shunting by an empirical formula.
A chest X-ray is helpful to see whether the overall heart size is enlarged and may demonstrate evidence of fluid in the lungs or pulmonary congestion. In addition, an electrocardiogram is beneficial to evaluate the left and correct ventricle dimensions. If right ventricular hypertrophy is stipulated, this may suggest pulmonary hypertension.
Pressures are measured inside the heart, significantly if any concern was previously raised over the degree of pulmonary hypertension and, therefore, operability.
If additional abnormalities are possible, a dye study may be performed to visualise the anatomy inside the heart. But the echocardiogram may achieve this goal in the majority of patients.
Post Surgery – Follow-Up
Regular full body checkups and echocardiograms are required to reassess the ventricular septal defect continually.
Frequently asked questions
1. How serious is a hole in your heart?
Atrial septal defects can lead to heart failure when the heart doesn’t pump enough blood to the body, or a deficiency can cause a clot to pass through the hole, leading to a stroke.
2. Can a hole in the heart be cured?
There are no known medications that can cure the hole. If a child is diagnosed with an atrial septal defect, the healthcare provider may want to monitor it for a while to see if the hole closes on its own. During this period, a doctormight treat symptoms with medicine.
3. What causes a hole in your heart?
The cause of the atrial septal defect is unclear. An atrial septal defect is a structural problem during heart development while a baby is still in the womb. Genetics, certain medical conditions, the use of certain medications, and environmental or lifestyle factors, such as smoking or alcohol misuse, may play a role.