Minimally invasive closure of a ‘hole in the heart’ is available at Spire Shawfair Park. A ‘hole in the heart’ refers to an area in the the septum between the left and right atria which is open in all individuals before birth.
For most people this hole closes shortly after birth but for approximately 25% of the population the opening doesn’t close. For most it goes undetected, mainly due to the minimal symptoms caused by the condition. However, for some they may notice symptoms such as:
- Tiredness / lethargy
- Shortness of breath
- Frequent respiratory infections, including pneumonia
- Usually a heart murmur
The condition is diagnosed with an echocardiogram which also identifies the location of the hole.
An implant is guided up to the affected area through a small incision in the groin. This implant is then released, effectively closing the hole. Tissue will eventually grow into and around the implant’s fabric and metal framework, creating a permanent seal.
This minimally invasive technique offers several advantages over current treatment options of either medications (such as anticoagulants) or open-heart surgery. The new technique reduces risks associated with open surgery and prevents an on-going need for medications. The condition isn’t always serious but can present higher risks in some patient groups. For instance, in older patients there is increasing likelihood of irregular heartbeats, high blood pressure and heart failure.
Recent studies have also shown that the risk of suffering an embolic stroke may be increased for people who are affected with this abnormality.