Congenital Heart Defects: What Are the Symptoms of Aortic Stenosis and Atrial Septal Defect?
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Congenital Heart Defects: What Are the Symptoms of Aortic Stenosis and Atrial Septal Defect?

This article discusses the symptoms of aortic stenosis and atrial septal defects. These two conditions are congenital heart defects, which means they developed before the baby was born. Both of these conditions can worsen as the babies grow into childhood and adulthood. Aortic stenosis is more common in boys than girls, while atrial septal defects are equally common between boys and girls. Continue reading to learn more about these congenital heart defects.

Since there are so many different types of congenital heart defects the symptoms will vary for each condition or syndrome. What exactly are congenital heart defects?  These are structural problems of the heart that a baby is born with.  The abnormal structure of the heart and its parts may cause problems with how the heart functions and ultimately affect how blood is circulated through the body.

Types of congenital heart defects

There are a host of possible congenital heart defects. This article will address some of the most common ones. Each of the defects will be listed and discussed below.

Aortic stenosis – Stenosis refers to narrowing; aortic stenosis refers to the narrowing of the aortic valve. The way the heart functions, when oxygen rich blood leaves the lungs it is pumped into the left ventricle, and then it is pumped through the aortic valve and out to the body through the aortic artery.

Stenosis of the aortic valve causes the blood flow to the body to be slowed down due to the narrowing of the valve. The symptoms of aortic stenosis will vary according to the severity of the defect. Common symptoms of aortic stenosis are shortness of breath, lightheadedness, fainting, palpitations, and chest pain which is due to angina (pain of the heart muscle).

Atrial septal defect – This condition is characterized by a hole in the septum which divides the heart atria (top portion) into the right and left sides. Normally, the two atria keep the oxygen rich blood and the oxygen poor blood separate. Oxygen poor blood enters the right atrium while oxygen rich blood enters the left atrium and is pumped out into your body. With an atrial septal defect the hole in the septum causes the oxygen rich and oxygen poor blood to mix, which causes the mixture of oxygen rich and poor blood to be circulated out into the body.

The symptoms of an atrial septal defect include shortness of breath, especially with exertion. The baby or child may tire easily, and have irregular heartbeats. The baby may also have feeding problems; he or she may get sick with frequent respiratory infections. If these symptoms become severe enough heart failure could result.  

In more severe cases of atrial septal defect the mixture of oxygen poor blood mixed with oxygen rich blood will cause a condition in the body called pulmonary hypertension. Pulmonary hypertension is high blood pressure in the pulmonary vessels. Pulmonary hypertension also causes a symptom of cyanosis which causes a bluish tint to the skin. The blue tint comes from the oxygen poor blood circulating in the wrong vessels in the body. Surgery would need to be done to repair the hole in the heart to restore normal blood circulation throughout the body.


WebMD was used for both defects

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Comments (3)

In the modern world these cases are on the increase. Reasons are yet to be found out. Thank you Charlene.


A short lesson on auscultation of aortic stenosis: