Dr Simon Kennon MB ChB, FRCP, MD Consultant Cardiologist


Atrial septal defect (ASD), sometimes referred to as a hole in the heart, is a congenital heart abnormality where there is a hole in the wall dividing two of the heart chambers This allows blood flow between these chambers. A Patent Foramen ovale (PFO) is a specific type of atrial septal defect.


if an ASD is suspected, an echocardiogram (echo) is required to look at the wall dividing the two heart chambers (the interatrial septum). Sometimes a transoeasophageal echocardiogram is required.


If it is thought there is a high risk of the ASD or PFO causing heart failure then closure is required. This can be achieved with open heart surgery or, more commonly, with a keyhole procedure whereby an occlusion device is passed up to the heart from one of the veins at the top of the leg.