Skip to main content Skip to navigation
We care about your privacy. Read about your rights and how we protect your data. Get Details

Coronavirus Update:What patients and families need to know

Pediatric Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)

What is an atrial septal defect?

Anatomy of the heart, normal

An atrial septal defect is an opening in the atrial septum, or dividing wall between the two upper chambers of the heart, known as the right and left atria. ASD can be a congenital (present at birth) heart defect, or it can result from the failure of normal postnatal closure of a hole that is present in the heart of every fetus.  

Normally, oxygen-poor (blue) blood returns to the right atrium from the body, travels to the right ventricle, then is pumped into the lungs where it receives oxygen. Oxygen-rich (red) blood returns to the left atrium from the lungs, passes into the left ventricle, and then is pumped out to the body through the aorta.

An atrial septal defect allows oxygen-rich (red) blood to pass from the left atrium, through the opening in the septum, and then mix with oxygen-poor (blue) blood in the right atrium.

Illustration of the anatomy of a heart with an atrial septal defect

Atrial septal defects occur in a small percentage of children born with congenital heart disease. For unknown reasons, girls have atrial septal defects twice as often as boys.

Prevention and Risk Assessment

Diagnosis

Treatment

Children's Team

Children's Team

Providers

Locations that Treat this Condition

Locations that Treat this Condition

Show more Locations
Departments

Departments

Cardiac Catheterization

Our heart team performs hundreds of cardiac catheterization procedures a year, treating patients of all ages, including those with complex heart conditions.

Cardiac Surgery

Our pediatric heart surgery team performs twice the number of surgeries of any other hospital in the region, with some of the best outcomes in the nation.

Prenatal Cardiology Program

Our heart care begins before babies are even born, in our dedicated Prenatal Cardiology Program, where we diagnose and even treat prenatal heart conditions.

Cardiology

The pediatric heart experts at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., provide advanced care for unborn babies, children and young adults with heart conditions.

Children's National Heart Institute

Our expert pediatric heart team, including more than 40 subspecialties, offer advanced heart care and excellent outcomes for thousands of children every year.

Invest in future cures for some of life's most devastating diseases

See other ways to give

Share your birthday with a child. Celebrate your life, and give a chance to someone who desperately wants to have as many as you.

Share your birthday with a child. Celebrate your life, and give a chance to someone who desperately wants to have as many as you. Make it happen

Lauren's Story

Lauren 4

Lauren's headaches shattered her Olympic swimming dreams, until she visited Children's National Hospital. 

Read More of Lauren's Story