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Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) is a congenital heart defect in which the wall that separates the baby's upper heart chambers, also known as the atria, doesn't close completely. This condition is more prevalent in girls than boys and accounts for 5-10% of all congenital heart disease. In this condition, oxygen-rich blood from the left side of the heart can flow directly into the right side or vice versa. This leads to lower-than-average oxygen levels and can affect the brain, organs and tissues. If the defect is small, there may be no noticeable signs or symptoms.
Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) is similar to ASD except that the defect occurs between the right and left ventricle's of the heart. In many of those born with VSD, the hole will close itself after birth. For those with larger holes, surgery can be performed to repair the defect. The surgery, usually performed in infancy, uses a small patch of fabric to cover the hole. Later, normal heart tissue grows over the patch. Some holes can be sewn closed without the use of a patch.
See the Children's Hospital Colorado website for more information on Atrial Septal Defect and Ventricular Septal Defect.
This information is provided by the Department of Surgery at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. It is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition.