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How can an atrial septal defect (ASD) lead to heart failure?

The right ventricle eventually fails when it comes to an atrial septal defect (ASD) that leads to heart failure.

The right and left sides of the heart separate the oxygen-depleted blood returning from the body from the oxygen-rich blood that returns from the lungs. Usually, there is no direct exchange of blood from one side to the other.

An atrial septal defect, or hole in the “wall” (the septum) that separates the heart’s two top chambers (the atria), allows blood to leak from the left (red blood) atrium into the right (blue blood) atrium, increasing the blood volume in the right side of the heart that goes to the lungs. This can enlarge the right side of the heart, which then may develop abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) and can potentially result in pulmonary artery hypertension over time.

If a large atrial septal defect is not discovered until later in life, heart failure, arrhythmias, or high blood pressure in the lungs can occur and can even lead to early death.
 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.