Article Abstract

Hemodynamic assessment of atrial septal defects

Authors: Alejandro Javier Torres


Atrial septal defect (ASD) is one of the most common congenital cardiac anomalies. ASD can present as an isolated lesion in an otherwise normal heart or in association with other congenital heart conditions. Regardless of the type of ASD, the direction and degree of shunting across the communication is mainly determined by the difference in compliance between the right and left ventricle. Hemodynamics in children is characterized by left-to-right shunting, dilated right heart structures and normal pulmonary artery pressures (PAP). Patients diagnosed at adult age often present with complications related to longstanding volume overload such as pulmonary artery hypertension and right and left ventricular dysfunction. Diagnostic catheterization is usually not indicated unless there is suggestion of pulmonary hypertension on echocardiography. In older patients and/or in those with ventricular dysfunction, measurement of left heart pressures during temporary balloon occlusion is recommended prior to device closure as it may not be tolerated. In ASD associated with other congenital malformations, shunting degree and direction will depend upon underlying condition. Restrictive ASD can result in significant hemodynamic compromise in neonates with conditions such as hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) and transposition of the great arteries (TGA). In most cases, hemodynamics can be estimated with echocardiography only.