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Cardiology transition workshop for adolescents

Sep 18 2018
Not sure about transitioning to the adult health service? Come along to our workshop and hear about living well with congenital heart disease. ...

A lovely letter from a Heart Centre family

Aug 24 2017
The family of one of our patients has written a beautiful letter of appreciation. It shows how many people and various roles work together to ma...

24 Hour Soccerthon

Aug 23 2017
The annual 24 Hour Soccerthon, which is now in its 6th year, will be running from 25-26 August. Each year this event has helped us raise substan...

Septal Defects

The idea of a "hole in the heart" as a form of congenital heart disease is one of the most familiar in the community. This term is not a technical, medical one, but one that indicates that some form of communication between the two sides of the heart exists when and where it should not. The medical terminology is a "septal defect".

The word "septum" refers to the wall dividing the left and right sides of the heart. This wall is made of muscle like the rest of the heart, and in the case of the ventricles, plays a part in the pumping work of those chambers.

It is important to know that:

  1. there is not just one type of hole in the heart,
  2. even holes of the same type can vary in size or location in the wall, and
  3. holes in the heart can be accompanied by other abnormalities.

These differences are very important and can mean one hole is virtually harmless and never needs any treatment, and another of a similar name can alter the way the heart works in a way that treatment with medicine or, sometime, surgery is needed.

Sometimes it is obvious very early that a baby has a septal defect which will be unimportant, and sometimes it is necessary to wait weeks or months for this to become clear (although your baby is in no danger during this time). In defects which require closure, the timing is variable depending of the type of abnormality. It is important to speak to your cardiologist and understand how he or she believes the septal defect will affect your baby it is better not to jump to conclusions about this.

Some types of septal defect include:

  • Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)
  • Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)
  • AtrioVentricular Septal Defect

When septal defects occur with other heart abnormalities, these may be more or less important than the septal defect itself. Once again speak to your cardiologist so you can understand your own child's specific abnormality.

Disclaimer: This information is intended as a general guide only and not to provide specific information for individual patient care. Any questions about your own situation should be directed to your medical practitioner, or cardiac specialist, or by contacting us and asking to speak to a Clinical Nurse Consultant.

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