An atrial septal defect is a congenital abnormality of the upper chamber of the heart. This defect is present from the time of birth where the wall between the left and right atria doesn’t close completely. In the fetal stage, there is an opening between the two atria of the upper two chambers for the blood flow to the lungs but this opening generally closes by the time of birth. If ASD is persistent it is called a shunt. Every 4 people in 100,000 have a case of ASD and these people have an increased risk of multiple complications like infective endocarditis, stroke and heart failure.
ASD requires no treatment if symptoms like frequent respiratory infections in children, shortness in breathing and difficulty breathing are not persistent, this generally happens if the defect is small or of moderate size. Bigger defects of middle-aged people with the symptoms are treated with surgical closure. Newer treatment methods also involve the use of a closure device through the use of catheters. This device called the Amplatz device is placed across the ASD to close the defect. This process though is new and is not applicable to all the patients.
People from more than 20 countries including the UK, US, and Australia travel to India for treatment of ASD because of its efficient and robust healthcare services in comparison to developed countries. ASD surgery in India can cost from $15000-$20000 depending on the type of defect and treatment, whereas in the USA it costs $64,000-$70,000 for ASD surgery.
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