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Atrial Septal Defect Symptoms Treatment

A heart murmur (an extra flow sound associated with the heartbeat) is the most common sign of an atrial septal defect (ASD). Often, it’s the only sign. However, not all murmurs are a sign of a congenital heart defect. Many healthy children have heart murmurs, which are innocent, normal sounds of blood flow through the heart. A doctor can tell by listening whether a murmur is a normal flow sound or a sign of a heart problem. Many babies born with ASDs have no signs or symptoms.

If a large ASD isn’t repaired, the extra blood flow to the right side of the heart can eventually damage the heart and lungs, causing heart failure. This doesn’t occur until adulthood. Signs and symptoms of heart failure can include:

  • Fatigue or tiring easily during exercise or activity
  • Shortness of breath
  • A buildup of blood and fluid in the lungs
  • A buildup of fluid in the feet, ankles, and legs