To assess the long-term cardiac status after surgical closure of an atrial septal defect (ASD) at a young age, 104 of 135 children who consecutively underwent surgery (aged 0 to 14 years) at 1 institution between 1968 and 1980 participated in a follow-up study and underwent a complete cardiologic examination. Mean follow-up was 14.5 ± 2.8 years. Most patients (87%) believed their health to be good or very good. At physical examination, all patients were in good health. Ninety-three patients (89%) were in sinus rhythm. Echocardiography showed that right ventricular dilatation was present in 27 patients (26%), 2 of whom had a residual ASD. Bicycle ergometry revealed that 88 patients (88%) had a normal exercise capacity. Both supraventricular and ventricular arrhythmias were observed in 67% of patients by 24-hour ambulatory electrocardiography, but only 3 (3%) had received antiarrhythmic medication, and 4 (4%) had needed a pacemaker. In the group of patients with right ventricular dilatation, the exercise capacity and prevalence of arrhythmias did not differ significantly from those in the group with a normal sized right ventricle. The outcome in patients with a secundum-type ASD was not different from that of those with a sinus venosus-type ASD. The finding of anatomic, functional or electrophysiologic abnormalities was not associated with a longer duration of follow-up. The findings indicate that the long-term functional cardiac status after surgical closure of an ASD is generally good, irrespective of the presence of anatomic or electrophysiologic sequelae. The future clinical significance of arrhythmias that are asymptomatic, and persisting right ventricular dilatation in this patient group remains to be determined.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine