Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) | Symptoms & Causes

What are the symptoms of an atrial septal defect?

Typically, children with atrial septal defect (ASD) do not show any symptoms and they come to a cardiologist because of a murmur picked up by their pediatrician. Typically, children with an ASD grow, thrive and are symptom free. However, there is a small number who have symptoms that may include decreased endurance, slow growth and frequent respiratory infections.

It is not uncommon for an ASD to be detected incidentally, during a general medical evaluation.

What are the causes of an atrial septal defect?

Most atrial septal defects occur by chance, with no clear reason and are beyond human control. All babies have an opening between the upper two heart chambers before birth and this opening usually closes in the first few years of life. A deficiency in the length of the component of the wall leaves a gap or atrial septal defect.

In rare circumstances, more than one member of the family can have an ASD.