July 26th, 2020
Atrial septal defect (ASD) may be asymptomatic in the pediatric age group. Small defects may be asymptomatic throughout life.
Frequent respiratory infections
An infant with a large ASD may present with frequent lung infections. This is a common occurrence when there is an increase in pulmonary blood flow due to left-to-right shunting.
In infants this may show up as an inability to feed well. Older children may report dyspnea with exercise. This is a consequence of an abnormal increase in pulmonary blood flow from left-to-right shunting.
Children may have the sensation of their heart racing or skipping a beat. It may be secondary to arrhythmia and should thus be investigated.
Cyanosis may occur in the presence of pulmonary hypertension, when the ASD, instead of the left-to-right shunt, shunts right-to-left (Eisenmenger syndrome).