What is an atrial septal defect?
There are several types of atrial septal defects (ASDs), which are differentiated from one another by which structures of the heart are involved. These are congenital (from birth) defects that are often corrected in infancy, depending on symptoms and type.
The most common type, ostium secundum or patent foramen ovale (PFO) are often asymptomatic and may be diagnosed incidentally on echocardiography. If symptoms develop, they usually occur by 40 years of age and include fatigue, palpitations and syncope. If the lesion is large and goes untreated, complications such as pulmonary hypertension, heart failure and stroke (paradoxical embolism) may occur.