Understanding Congenital and Structural Heart Defects
The human heart undergoes many structural and functional changes during fetal development, and throughout life. There are several common types of congenital heart defects: Defects from underdeveloped or improperly developed heart structures, and defects resulting from failure of openings in the heart to close properly just prior to, or quickly after birth.
Before birth, a baby’s lungs do not function and the baby receives oxygen-rich blood from the mother through the umbilical cord. To allow the mother’s blood to supply the baby, the heart has a number of open passages between various chambers and vessels. When one of these openings does not close properly directly after birth, heart function can be negatively affected. Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA), is a common heart defect resulting from incomplete closure of openings from one part of the heart to another.
Another kind of heart defect is caused by incomplete formation or malformation of parts of the heart. There are various types of these heart defects. AMPLATZER® Devices are used to treat congenital holes in the walls in the heart that separate the right and left atria, or right and left ventricles. The wall between the chambers of the heart is called the septum. The wall between the upper chambers in the heart (the atria) is called the atrial septum. The wall between the lower chambers in the heart (the ventricles) is called the ventricular septum. Holes in the wall of the septum are called septal defects. Ventricular Septal Defects (VSD) are in the lower chamber septum between the left and right ventricle, and Atrial Septal Defects (ASD) are in the upper chamber septum between the right and left atrium.