Diagnosis of atrial septal defect

Tests and procedures to diagnose atrial septal defect include:

Small defects in children may not exhibit signs and symptoms and it may be found incidentally during annual health check-ups. Predominant sign detected by cardiologists is heart murmur, a whooshing sound that can be heard through a stethoscope. Presenting symptoms might include shortness of breath, tiring easily especially after activity, heart palpitations or skipped beats. In some cases, stroke-related symptoms might be presented. Atrial septal defects can be categorized into several types.  Secundum atrial septal defect is the most common type, accounts for 75% of all cases. The hole of secundum atrial septal defect occurs in the middle of the wall between the atria (atrial septum).

  • Listening to the heart using a stethoscope.
  • An echocardiogram. During echocardiogram, sound waves are used to produce a video image of the heart. It allows the cardiologists to view heart’s chambers and measure their pumping strength. There are 2 common types of echocardiogram
    1. Transthoracic Echocardiogram: During performing this test, the probe (or ultrasonic transducer) is placed on the chest or abdomen of the patient to get various views of the heart. Although no diagnose atrial septal preparation is required, this diagnostic test might not be suitable in patients with thick chest wall or abnormal anatomy of chest wall.
    2. Transesophageal Echocardiogram: A specialized probe containing an ultrasound transducer at its tip is passed into the patient’s esophagus which runs behind the windpipe (trachea) and heart. Moving images of the heart can be viewed, allowing cardiologists to diagnosed accurately.

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