Transcatheter Closure of an Atrial Septal Defect

What is transcatheter closure?

Transcatheter closure is a procedure to seal a hole between the two upper chambers of the heart with a device that looks like two umbrellas joined together at their centers.

When is it used?

Having a small hole in your heart can be dangerous. Sometimes blood clots form inside the blood vessels. Clots can break into pieces and float in the bloodstream and through the hole in the heart. If they block a blood vessel, the result can be a heart attack, stroke, loss of vision, or other problems.

Your healthcare provider may prescribe blood thinners to lower your risk of blood clots. If medicine has not helped, this procedure is done to reduce your risk for a stroke or other problems.

How do I prepare for this procedure?

  • Make plans for your care and recovery after you have the procedure. Find someone to give you a ride home after the procedure. Allow for time to rest and try to find other people to help with your day-to-day tasks while you recover.
  • You may or may not need to take your regular medicines the day of the procedure. Tell your healthcare provider about all medicines and supplements that you take. Some products may increase your risk of side effects. Ask your healthcare provider if you need to avoid taking any medicine or supplements before the procedure.
  • Tell your healthcare provider if you have any food, medicine, or other allergies such as latex.
  • Your healthcare provider will tell you when to stop eating and drinking before the procedure. This helps to keep you from vomiting during the procedure.
  • Follow your provider’s instructions about not smoking before and after the procedure. Smokers may have more breathing problems during the procedure and heal more slowly. It’s best to quit 6 to 8 weeks before surgery.
  • Follow any other instructions your healthcare provider gives you.
  • Ask any questions you have before the procedure. You should understand what your healthcare provider is going to do. You have the right to make decisions about your healthcare and to give permission for any tests or procedures.

What happens during the procedure?

This procedure is usually done at the hospital.

Before the procedure you will be given medicine to help you relax, but you will be awake during the procedure. You will be given a local anesthetic to numb the area where the catheter will be inserted. You may also be given medicine to help prevent blood clots.

Your healthcare provider will put a small tube called a catheter through your skin and into a blood vessel in your groin, arm, or neck. Guided by X-rays, the healthcare provider will push the catheter with the umbrella device into the hole in your heart. When your provider is sure the device is secure in the right place, he or she will remove the catheter and then the two halves of the device will press together to seal the defect.

At the end of the procedure, your healthcare provider will remove the catheter and put pressure on the area where the catheter was inserted (the puncture site) to control any bleeding.

What happens after the procedure?

After the procedure you may stay in a recovery area for at least a few hours. You may be able to go home the same day.

Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions. Ask your healthcare provider:

  • How long it will take to recover
  • If there are activities you should avoid and when you can return to your normal activities
  • How to take care of yourself at home
  • What symptoms or problems you should watch for and what to do if you have them

Make sure you know when you should come back for a checkup. Keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.

What are the risks of this procedure?

Every procedure or treatment has risks. Some possible risks of this procedure include:

  • The device may come loose and travel into the lungs or another part of the body.
  • You may have a stroke or heart attack during the procedure.
  • You might have abnormal heart rhythms.
  • You may have infection, bleeding, or blood clots.
  • The procedure may damage a heart valve or cause a new hole in the heart.

Ask your healthcare provider how these risks apply to you. Be sure to discuss any other questions or concerns that you may have.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2015-01-21
Last reviewed: 2015-01-20
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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