Glossary of Terms
Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)
A congenital, abnormal opening between the left and right atria of the heart. The heart is divided into the right and the left heart, and is made up of 4 chambers. On each side of the heart there is an atrium and a ventricle. The right atrium and the left atrium lay side by side and are separated by a muscular wall referred to as the septum.
While in the mother's womb, there is an opening in the septum, but at birth this opening quickly closes. An atrial septal defect is an abnormal opening in the septum. These should be closed since they can cause a variety of problems later in life. There are a variety of methods that can be used to close an ASD, depending on the size, location and the patient's condition.
Related area: Minimally Invasive Surgery for Atrial Septal Defect